Culture gap

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A culture gap is any systematic difference between two cultures which hinders mutual understanding or relations. Such differences include the values, behavior, education, and customs of the respective cultures.[1] The term was originally used to describe the difficulties encountered in interactions between early 20th century travelers and pre-industrial cultures,[1] but has since been used more broadly to refer to mutual misunderstandings and incomprehension arising with people from differing backgrounds and experiences.

Culture gaps can relate to religion, ethnicity, age, or social class. Examples of cultural differences that may lead to gaps include social norms and gender roles. The term can also be used to refer to misunderstandings within a society, such as between different scientific specialties.


As international communications, travel, and trade have expanded, some of the communication and cultural divisions have lessened. Books on how to handle and be aware of cultural differences seek to prepare business people and travelers.[2] Immigrants and migrant laborers need to learn the ways of a new culture.[3] Tourists can also be confronted with variants in protocols for tipping, body language, personal space, dress codes, and other cultural issues. Language instructors try to teach cultural differences as well.[4]


A legal culture is a system of laws and precedents peculiar to a nation, region, religion, or other organized group. A culture gap occurs when incompatible or opposing systems might be applied to the same situation or assumed by the parties. Legal constructs such as contracts and corporations are not uniform across cultures. In some cases, such a gap is intentionally sought by one party, as in forum shopping for a more favorable legal framework or in libel tourism, by which speech protected in one jurisdiction may be actionable in another.


A generation gap occurs when the experiences and attitudes of one generation differ significantly from those of another. The world wars contributed to generation gaps in several nations. The term first saw widespread use in contrasting the Baby Boomer generation with their parents. The "Youth culture" of adolescents and teenagers seeking to stake out their own identity and independence from their parents often results in a cultural divide. Younger generations have experienced different technologies, freedoms and standards of propriety.[5]

Gender and sexual identity



Communication between and collaboration among scientific disciplines is sometimes hindered by use of different paradigms or competition between the desires to describe a simple explanatory framework and elucidate fine details. The framework of the questions to which each field lends itself may differ, leading to frustration and wasted effort.[6]


The education culture is the different education people receive in their life. A culture gap occurs when people with different cultures sit together and take the same class. Different cultures behave differently towards the teacher both in class and after class. Differences can be noticed in assessment method and the direction method of the class.

Asian students focus on books and exercises more than European and American students, who are willing to raise questions in the classes. The cultural gap in education is due to the different education traditions in different places.

For example, Asian students receive exam-oriented education, but European and American students receive a very different, freer education and are both expected to challenge their teachers and strongly encouraged to challenge the teachers in class.

In both China and Japan, the education system normally usually uses exams to show a student's ability. In American and Britain, students grade instructors according to ability.

Both systems have advantages and disadvantages but form a cultural gap between people. Different ways of thinking and analyzing things makes students view things very differently.[7]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Oxford English Dictionary
  2. Penny Carte, Chris Fox Bridging the Culture Gap: A Practical Guide to International Business Communication Kogan Page Publishers, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7494-5274-2. 192 pages [1]
  3. Carola Suárez-Orozco and Desirée Qin-Hilliard Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the New Immigration Taylor & Francis, 2001 ISBN 978-0-8153-3708-9. 2100 pages page 54 [2]
  4. Joyce Merrill Valdes Culture Bound: Bridging the Cultural Gap in Language Teaching Cambridge University Press, 1986 ISBN 978-0-521-31045-1. 222 pages [3]
  5. Gerhard Falk and Ursula A. Falk Youth culture and the generation gap Algora Publishing, 2005 ISBN 0-87586-368-X, 9780875863689 254 pages [4]
  6. Pasieka, A (2002), "Physics meets biology: Bridging the culture gap", Nature, 419 (6904): 244–246, doi:10.1038/419244a, PMID 12239534<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Zhao, Zhou, Huang, Y., X., L. (2008), "Chinese Students' Knowledge and Thinking about America and China", Social Studies, 99 (1): 13–22, ISSN 0037-7996CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>