The Environmental Context study


Reflection of chapter 4
(The environmental context)
For this reflection, the concept that I have picked is from The Environmental Context in chapter 4. The specific concept that the paper will discuss is the concept of the cultural preference for privacy. This is a concept that explains that different cultures have different preferences for privacy both online and offline. The preference of privacy ranges from solitude to isolation to intimacy with friends or with the family to anonymity and finally reserves. The level of preference that a culture has forms the basis upon which certain policies are set, how people socialize and the basis of deciding how to structure their houses and living spaces.
I have had an experience with this concept especially in regard to the preference for privacy on the online space. Some time back in a group of very diverse individual, a topic was raised about the numerous censoring and limitation that is done on the web in China. In the group, there was one Chinese individual who tried to explain that it works well for them and their country. However, most the other individuals in the group including myself who come from a culture where there is a lot of freedom on the internet where individuals can access anything and post anything, they like were against the whole concept of internet censoring.
We went round and round telling the Chinese individuals how the government was denying them a right to freedom and how much more they were missing on the internet because of being locked out by the government. No matter how much he tried to explain how that worked well for their society, none of us were hearing any of it because we were all convinced that what their government does is wrong. Surprisingly at the end of the whole discussion and debate, the Chinese individual seemed very unmoved by our many opinions and was still okay with this approach the government had decided to take to monitor activities on their web. From this experience, however, I ended up feeling like we had gone on an on to impose our views and criticisms without giving ourselves a chance to listen and understand the point of view of the one person who felt that such policies were okay for their country.
If I knew then what I know now that is the concepts of this course in regard to the fact that different cultures have different preferences of privacy the experience for me would be very different. This is because I would have made contributions to the discussion from a point of a lot more understanding rather than just imposing my opinion like what everyone else did. I would have been able to see and understand the point of view of the Chinese fellow in the group when he said that what they have worked for them and consequently be more accommodative of the fact we all do not have to be the same and that our needs are not their needs.
The communication or the debate, in this case, would have been more constructive because the argument would be made with consideration of the differences we have in culture and preferences. This would have helped to accommodate and bring to the table different objective rather than subjective points of view and consequently make the debate a lot more constructive for all involved. The knowledge that different cultures have different preferences for privacy help us see why individuals make the different choices that they do in policies and structures and that it is okay, and we do not need to impose our beliefs or critiques on them without understanding the basics.

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