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Building and Sustaining Intercultural Relationships: Public Perceptions and Practical Benefits of Friendships and Romantic Relationships in Intercultural Contexts
Unformatted Document Text:  Building and Sustaining Intercultural Relationships 5 relationships. Defining an Intercultural Relationship An intercultural relationship can be defined as a relationship (i.e. association or connection) that is formed between individuals from different cultures (Martin & Nakayama 1999). Here, culture is defined broadly and comprises many key elements of a group. More specifically, culture is “a learned meaning system that consists of patterns of traditions, beliefs, values, norms, and symbols that are passed from one generation to the next and are shared to varying degrees by interacting members of a community” (Ting- Toomey, 1999, p.10). Culture can be looked at in a broad sense, for example Timothy Nonn studied homeless, homosexual males in San Francisco as a culture (2001). Intercultural relationships, therefore, are particular types of connections existing between people from dissimilar cultures. Defining the term “race” or even interracial relationship has become a topic of controversy in the past years. Essentially, the term interracial can be view as a more specific term than the term intercultural. Since race and culture are similar, their effects are difficult to separate when examining relationships among different people or groups (Fu, Tora, & Kendall, 2001). For practicality in this analysis, the term interracial relationship refers specifically to relationships between people of different social and/or historical backgrounds that may have different physical characteristics. Regardless, the interest in this analysis is about the benefits of forming and sustaining positive relationships with people from different groups and backgrounds.

Authors: Docan, Tony.
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Building and Sustaining Intercultural Relationships 5
relationships.
Defining an Intercultural Relationship
An intercultural relationship can be defined as a relationship (i.e. association or
connection) that is formed between individuals from different cultures (Martin &
Nakayama 1999). Here, culture is defined broadly and comprises many key elements of a
group. More specifically, culture is “a learned meaning system that consists of patterns of
traditions, beliefs, values, norms, and symbols that are passed from one generation to the
next and are shared to varying degrees by interacting members of a community” (Ting-
Toomey, 1999, p.10). Culture can be looked at in a broad sense, for example Timothy
Nonn studied homeless, homosexual males in San Francisco as a culture (2001).
Intercultural relationships, therefore, are particular types of connections existing between
people from dissimilar cultures.
Defining the term “race” or even interracial relationship has become a topic of
controversy in the past years. Essentially, the term interracial can be view as a more
specific term than the term intercultural. Since race and culture are similar, their effects
are difficult to separate when examining relationships among different people or groups
(Fu, Tora, & Kendall, 2001). For practicality in this analysis, the term interracial
relationship refers specifically to relationships between people of different social and/or
historical backgrounds that may have different physical characteristics. Regardless, the
interest in this analysis is about the benefits of forming and sustaining positive
relationships with people from different groups and backgrounds.


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