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Society, Language, and Culture by 5IQG64GM


									Dr. Sabine Krajewski
Lecturer in International Communications
The University of Nottingham Ningbo
199 Taikang East Road
University park
Ningbo 315100

I have been employed as lecturer in International Communications at the University
of Nottingham, Ningbo since August 2005.
Prior to this appointment, I taught English and Cultural Studies at the European
University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, for a few years. During that time I
completed my doctoral thesis at the faculty of cultural studies (Life goes on. And
sometimes it doesn’t. 2001).
My MA degree is in American Literature and Linguistics (Free University Berlin) and
my first teaching position was as a DAAD lecturer for German language and literature
in London (London Guildhall University) during the nineties.
Dr. Sabine Krajewski
University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

My paper would fit under the heading

• Lost in Translation: Lessons from Cross-Cultural Communication
Format: power point presentation.

(Taboo) lessons from Cross-Cultural Communications
Sociological literature stresses the protective function of taboos: they can prevent social
conflicts and function to mark all those phenomena in a society which could be
potentially dangerous for its members. Certain things which should not be said, done or
thought are internalized from childhood on and facilitate “correct” behavior. The taboo
protects the survival and the future of a community by simply fading out or covering
things which could menace the identity of the group and its members: dark sides of
history, death, illness, questions concerning the sense of life, bodily functions.

Taboos should not be confused with prohibitions; they are in fact often more effective
than direct bans. While direct bans or proscriptions are marked explicitly and
consequences are known to those who disregard the rules, taboos seem to be self-evident
and quite natural and they are more or less internalized; therefore we can say they are
based on a silent consensus, of which the affected persons often are not even aware.
Taboos are not ‘officially’ codified in a juridical way or like grammatical rules. The
breaking of taboos results in shame, disgust, fury, and hatred etc. – the violation of bans,
however, provokes rational reactions (as for example criticism, negative judgment,
discussion or a punishment). When a taboo is broken, the sanctions are not predictable
and irrational reactions are likely.

Though taboos and the internalized knowledge thereof usually help us regulate social life,
they can be obstacles in intercultural communications. I will use examples form everyday
life to illustrate the complexity of taboos and their functions in a globalized environment
by using examples from everyday life, business communications and university settings.

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