Netz, Hadar, and Adam Lefstein. “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Disagreements in Classroom Discourse: Comparative Case Studies from England, the United States, and Israel.” Intercultural Pragmatics 13.2 (2016): 211-55.
How do cultural and institutional factors interact in shaping preference structures? This paper presents a cross-cultural analysis of disagreements in three different classroom settings: (1) a year 6 (ages 11–12) mainstream class in England, (2) a fifth-grade class of gifted students in the United States, and (3) a fourth-grade mainstream class in Israel. The aim of the study is to investigate how disagreements are enacted in these settings, exploring the influence of cultural communicative norms on the one hand and pedagogical goals and norms on the other. The study highlights culture-specific discursive patterns that emerge as the teacher and students manage a delicate balance between often clashing cultural and educational motives.
When we do not know how to correctly behave in a new context, the emotions that people familiar with the context show in response to the behaviors of others, can help us understand what to do or not to do. The present study examined cross-cultural differences in how group emotional expressions (anger, sadness, neutral) can be used to deduce a norm violation in four cultures (Germany, Israel, Greece, and the US), which differ in terms of decoding rules for negative emotions. As expected, in all four countries, anger was a stronger norm violation signal than sadness or neutral expressions. However, angry and sad expressions were perceived as more intense and the relevant norm was learned better in Germany and Israel than in Greece and the US. Participants in Greece were relatively better at using sadness as a sign of a likely norm violation. The results demonstrate both cultural universality and cultural differences in the use of group emotion expressions in norm learning. In terms of cultural differences they underscore that the social signal value of emotional expressions may vary with culture as a function of cultural differences, both in emotion perception, and as a function of a differential use of emotions.
Dori-Hacohen, Gonen, and Zohar Livnat. “Negotiating Norms of Discussion in the Public Arena: The Use of Irony in Israeli Political Radio Phone-In Programs.” Journal of Communication (early view; online first).
Phone-in radio programs are part of the public sphere and thus require open access, rationality, and practicality. Simultaneously, they are a media product, which requires entertaining content. We demonstrate these demands through the analysis of interactional irony in Israeli political radio phone-ins. From an emic perspective, callers see irony as detrimental to the discussions, yet hosts and regular callers use it to make entertaining interactions. Irony is a critical tool that points to violations of norms: the norm of a clear 2-sided interaction; norms akin to the Habermasian public sphere; and at the content level, irony is used to reject racist positions. Being indirect, irony can be used to create an entertaining yet critical discussion in the public sphere.