Consciousness as we understand it today is a relatively new human phenomenon – an adaptation to the rapidly changing social conditions of several thousand years ago. Now we are at another point of rapid social change, this time driven by technology and connectivity. And again our survival depends on constructing a new capability of consciousness.
One notable new form of consciousness is that of intercultural communication, which enables human beings to transcend their natural ethnocentrism and actually appreciate cultural differences. The consciousness underlying intercultural communication is far more than the mastering of of ethnographic etiquette. Central to intercultural consciousness is the need to coordinate meaning and action simultaneously and quickly across multiple contextual boundaries.
Intercultural consciousness is based on “new paradigm thinking.” In this context, “new paradigm” refers to quantum theory as it is understood in the philosophy of science and to aspects of constructivism in social science that are influenced by quantum theory. New paradigm thinking changes our focus from causality and systemic behavior to ideas that are closer to the reality of hyperconnectivity and exponential rates of change: co-ontology, probability, and expectation.
The course will establish the new paradigm of constructivism that is supplanting positivism and relativism in social science and show how it supports intercultural consciousness. The course will also show how to coherently redefine intercultural communication concepts in new paradigmatic terms, and it will explain how to facilitate the perceptual development necessary to support intercultural consciousness and its enactment as intercultural competence.
This is the core practical theory course that is a prerequisite for several more specific courses in the curriculum. It is intended for educators, human resource professionals, coaches, international cooperation and partnership workers, and other intercultural practitioners.
- Review theories of the origin of consciousness related to cultural contact and the use of metaphorical language
- Review the three major paradigms of modern science, the form they take in social science, and how they organize thinking about self-consciousness and culture
- Explore the implications of knowledge paradigms and self-reflexive consciousness for the current turning point of social reality
- Discover how intercultural communication emerged as an application of the emerging quantum/constructivist paradigm and self-reflexive consciousness
- Explore new applications of intercultural consciousness in global business leadership and in current issues such as migration and cultural identity, diversity and inclusion, and social justice.
- Establish the coherent principles that allow traditional intercultural training to also facilitate intercultural consciousness
Milton J. Bennett, Ph.D.
Dr. Milton Bennett is a senior faculty member of IDRAcadamy and an adjunct member of the Faculty of Sociology at University of Milano Bicocca. Previously he was an associate professor of communication at Portland State University, where for 15 years he taught “communication and consciousness” along with running the graduate program in intercultural communication. He currently conducts executive education seminars on the topic of contextual consciousness and teaches intercultural consciousness in various US and European venues.
Dr. Bennett is known for originating the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and his text Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: Paradigms, Principles, & Practices. Following his life-long interest in the philosophy of science, Milton currently generates new theory and research through the Intercultural Development Research Institute (IDRInstitute), which operates in the US and Europe.