Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term culture shock was first introduced in the 1950s by anthropologist Kalvero Oberg, who defined it as an illness or disease. Later studies focused on cognitive, behavioral, phenomenological, and psychosocio-logical explanations. In general, culture shock is a consequence of immersion in a culture that is distinctly different from one's own background or previous experiences. Typically, these encounters involve new patterns of cultural behaviors, symbols, and expressions that hold little or no meaning without an understanding of the new social setting. The most common usage of the term today is in discussing the effects of students' studying abroad or immigration. Although in the short term culture shock may have adverse effects, in the long run it can enhance one's appreciation of other cultures, foster self-development, and help a person gain greater understanding of diversity. Several important factors intensify the effects of culture shock. Greater ignorance of foreign contexts and stronger ...