Scenario: Culture, Psychology, and Community

Scenario: Culture, Psychology, and Community

Imagine an international organization has approached you to help resolve an inter-group conflict. You are an authority in cross-cultural psychology and have been asked to serve as a consultant based on a recent violent conflict involving a refugee community in your town and a local community organization. In the days, weeks, and months leading up to the violent conflict, there were incidents of discrimination and debates regarding the different views and practices people held about work, family, schools, and religious practice. Among the controversies has been the role of women’s participation in political, educational, and community groups.

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Assignment: (6 pages excluding title page and reference page):

Part 1: Developing an Understanding (2 pages)

Based on the scenario, explain how you can help integrate the two diverse communities so that there is increased understanding and appreciation of each group by the other group. (Note: Make sure to include in your explanation the different views and practices of cultural groups as well as the role of women.)
Based on your knowledge of culture and psychology, provide three possible suggestions/solutions that will help the community as a whole. In your suggestions make sure to include an explanation regarding group think and individualism vs. collectivism.

Part 2: Socio-Emotional, Cognitive, and Behavioral Aspects (2 pages)

Based on your explanations in Part 1, how do your suggestions/solutions impact the socio-emotional, cognitive, and behavior aspects of the scenario and why?
Part 3: Gender, Cultural Values and Dimensions, and Group Dynamics (2 pages)

Explain the impact of gender, cultural values and dimensions, and group dynamics in the scenario.

Further explain any implications that may arise from when working between and within groups.

Sample Answer

Culture, Psychology, and Community

In the modern era of diversity and interconnectedness, understanding different cultures is essential. Community Psychology has established respect for diversity as one of its core values. As part of appreciating diversity in communities, we need to understand diverse dimensions and how to work within diverse contexts, as well as understand how to work within oppressive systems. In conducting research, designing interventions, and combating oppression and promoting justice and equality, community psychologists must consider diverse perspectives and experiences. Using cultural humility as a guide, this essay helps resolve an inter-group conflict through the request of an international organization. I’ve been asked to serve as a consultant since I’m an authority in cross-cultural psychology. Through this essay, I will help the reader develop an understanding of the conflict and give out solutions that can help solve the conflict.

Part One: Developing an Understanding

In my local town, there is a violent conflict between the refugee community and the local community organization. The two groups have different views and practices, especially regarding women’s participation in political, educational, and community groups. To survive, the refugees need much help from the local community and the government. They lack proper education and need work to improve their standards of living. However, the people from the local society believe that their misfortunes and troubles when it comes to low employment rates are because of the refugees. Increasing tensions, conflict, and violence between refugees and host communities directly impact the delivery and withholding of assistance in refugee camps. Because refugees and locals face life challenges simultaneously, resource distribution is related to intergroup conflict patterns. On the other hand, conflict is also considered a gendered activity, especially regarding the role of women. In my town, men have always had access to diverse resources, decision-making processes and power compared to women. The coming of the refugees brings a problem since they want to advocate for equal rights for both men and women when it comes to participation in political, educational, and community groups.

Based on the scenario, there are different ways I can use to integrate the two diverse communities so that they can have an increased understanding and appreciation of each other. In this scenario, to help integrate these groups, it is prudent that each group makes a conscious decision to establish friendships with people from the other group (Darley & Latané, 1968). The refugee community should develop friendships with the local community organization and vice versa. Secondly, if they’ve never been a minority, they should try to put themselves in situations where they’ll meet people from other cultures. They need to interact to help them understand each other’s perspectives well instead of jumping to conclusions and being rigid towards one another for no reason. Lastly, they should examine their biases about people from other cultures. We all carry different stereotypes and misinformation about people from different cultures. We must, however, become aware of the misinformation we have acquired before building relationships with people of other cultures (Gunkel et al., 2016).

Based on my knowledge of culture and psychology, various solutions could help the community. The conflict, for instance, can be prevented through proactive measures. Globally, it is understood that understanding the root causes of deadly intergroup conflicts and investing in development is key to resolving them. To prevent the breakdown of peaceful conditions, conflicts must be controlled through measures or efforts that ensure that each group understands one another and their reasoning. This stresses the importance of both communities putting in efforts to ensure they learn about the other group’s cultures. This is collectivism. The conflict can also be resolved through peace-building measures that help create peaceful relations. This can include having meetings or societal institutions where the two groups meet to discuss issues affecting them and how they can resolve them. As a result, tensions that might escalate to violent conflicts will be prevented from increasing or emerging (Gibbons et al., 1991). Last but not least, women’s anti-conflict organizations can also lead peace-building activities. For women to be heard in our society, there need to be millions of women’s organizations that help fight for equal rights and opportunities. This falls under individualism because it focuses on the rights of a particular group, in this case, women. While women are often the first to detect signs of conflict, they lack access to decision-making positions, which limits their ability to inform others about the need for preventative measures.

Part 2: Socio-Emotional, Cognitive, and Behavioral Aspects

There are various ways that my suggestions in part 1 impact the socio-emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of the scenario. The prevention of conflict between the refugee community and the local community is essential in promoting cognitive, behavioral, and socio-emotional perspectives. For instance, the early signs of conflict are rooted in gender-sensitive aspects and can be used to improve the early warning system (Klyukanov, 2020). Global firms should integrate gender expertise and consult with local women’s organizations when conducting fact-finding missions in conflict zones. Victims’ emotional, cognitive and behavioral status is significantly affected by preventing conflicts before they happen. This is why people must be aware of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive intelligence while dealing with post-conflict situations. When you look at it this way, the two groups, the refugees and the local community group, have some parts of their brains affected due to the trauma the conflict brings. As a result of the changes occurring in the brain cells that regulate emotions and control learning and memory, refugee members are emotionally unstable. This also applies to the local community members. As a result, the two different groups develop challenges that affect their bonding mechanisms with others making it hard for them to want to know the other groups, thus being judgmental (Gibbons et al., 1991). This is why it is essential to prevent the conflict before it happens than to handle it after it has happened.

The other solution I gave is peacebuilding measures that help create peaceful relations. When it comes to peacebuilding, this is a measure used to resolve injustice through non-violent ways. By transforming the cultural and structural conditions that generate destructive conflict, the peacebuilding solution improves the victims’ behavior and cognitive abilities. This solution I am suggesting focuses on developing political connections and constructive personnel across the two groups. Since this strategy helps to prevent violence, bring across post-conflict reconciliation measures, and manage conflicts, it helps improve the victims’ cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects. The process of managing conflict and resolving interpersonal problems can be stressful. During discussions about creating peace, it is essential to engage the victims of the conflict from the beginning so that the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dynamics can be considered and allayed.

When it comes to women’s anti-conflict organizations, they are also crucial in creating peace, thus improving the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of the victims. This is because it empowers the victims by promoting sustainable solutions that help prevent conflicts. It is systematically possible to experience fear, frustration, hurt, or anger when conflicts arise between groups of different cultures and perspectives. Conflicts can lead victims to experience a fight-or-flight response due to these feelings and threat conditions. Women from all regional, religious, educational, and political backgrounds are believed to encourage cognitive and behavioral development (Lindborg, 2017).

In most cases, women and children are usually the ones affected by conflicts. However, having women organizations that help solve these conflicts changes these situations. In some cases, they have used their influence as a go-between to maintain a constructive dialogue within their communities based on their high status in their families. There are also cases where women anticonflict groups like catholic groups act as humanitarian groups that help victims with food, shelter, and clothing conflicts arise between two groups. This helps improve the victims’ emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects.

Part 3: Gender, Cultural Values and Dimensions, and Group Dynamics

Various impacts arise from conflicts on gender, cultural values and dimensions, and group dynamics in the scenario. For instance, both societal and individual conflict dynamics are influenced and permeated by gender. This is why analyzing individual, societal, and interactional levels is a suitable approach to understanding the role gender plays in conflict management. Two radically different gender paradigms are associated with the three levels of gender-based conflict analysis (Sherman et al., 2017). In the first paradigm, it is believed that women are naturally different from men. They live in a separate “world” from men. Thus, in this scenario, they experience different realities compared to men. The point here is that these inter-group conflicts impact women and men differently. As an alternative, women, and men do not have distinct natures, according to the other paradigm. When you look at it this way, women’s social construction and their constitution are the main topics of postmodern feminism. Compared with the methods and processes used to resolve disputes for men, women’s methods and processes were considered less effective. This is why women are more vulnerable when it comes to times of conflict compared to men.

When it comes to cultural values and dimensions or group dynamics, they are also essential aspects to be considered during conflicts and conflict resolutions. Cultures and group dynamics help to give people an idea of who they are. According to studies by Sherman et al., (2017), dimensions may be categorized into time, power, uncertainty, gender, or identity. All these factors have an impact because they help to solve conflicts that arise during intergroup conflicts. As stated in part one, they show or help different people understand the cultures of the other groups to be aware of how they operate. Cultural value dimensions play an important role in conflict resolution in intergroup interactions such as those between refugee communities and local communities. Having a deep understanding of these dimensions of value and culture is crucial for understanding culture and making sense of it. Understanding the other group’s culture is essential to resolve the conflict between two conflicting organizations.

Last but not least, various implications may arise when working between and within groups. Solving intergroup conflicts can be a strenuous process. For instance, people usually jump to conclusions about certain groups without having facts. In this scenario, the local community jumped to conclusions about the refugees without having facts. This is what they are used to. They know the refugees are here in our town to take over their jobs. This makes them rigid. This makes it hard to demystify these perceptions when working between and within groups (Sherman et al., 2017). The inability to empathize with others is also an implication. In this scenario, the local community group does not want to empathize with the refugees and understand they want to make a living for themselves since they are displaced people. Dealing with people who lack empathy can be a problem because it makes it hard for one to convince them that the other group is not a threat to them.

 

References

Darley, J.M. & Latané, B. (1968). Bystander interview in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8(4), 377-383.

Gibbons, J. L., Stiles, D. A., & Shkodriani, G. M. (1991). Adolescents’ attitudes toward family and gender roles: An international comparison. Sex Roles25(11–12), 625–643.

Gunkel, M., Schlaegel, C., & Taras, V. (2016). Cultural values, emotional intelligence, and conflict handling styles: A global study. Journal of World Business51(4), 568-585.

Klyukanov, I. E. (2020). Principles of intercultural communication. Routledge.

Lindborg, N. (2017). The Essential Role of Women in Peacebuilding. United States Institute of Peace.

Sherman, D. K., Brookfield, J., & Ortosky, L. (2017). Intergroup conflict and barriers to common ground: A self‐affirmation perspective. Social and Personality Psychology Compass11(12), e12364.

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