Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gill’s Conceptual Framework of Intercultural Interfacing

Following the conception of cultural interfacing at different levels in diverse context, Gill (2007) delineated three orders of gap of rationality:

This conception of the interface gives rise to a first order gap of rationality (conceptual gap) between what is termed ‘actuality’ (the experiencing that draws on past, present, and expectations of future) and ‘reality’ (the observed present). The second order gap of rationality arises from the design competency—gap between the conception and the model. The third gap of rationality of design is technical competency, the application gap. The cumulative affect of these gaps is that it can lead to the severe breakdown and disruptions of interaction. (pp. 642-643)

Gill (2007) pointed out that the tragedy of this breakdown is that the designers of the interface may not even be aware of the existence of such interfacing gaps, and they may come to “blame the frailty of the human rather than recognize the limitations of the observed reality” (p. 643). Such limitations prevent us from knowing the user from the use context. Therefore, he proposed a human-centered vision of the interface cultivated in the notion of the interdependence between the reality and the actuality – the symbiotic interface.

The symbiotic interface seeks an interdependent relationship between the personal, social and cultural roles (tacit dimension) and the functional (objective) roles of the user, thereby perceived as the “between-ness” interaction between the reality (objective world) and the actuality (tacit, practice) (p. 643). The “tacit” is defined as the interrelationship between the “personal” (feeling/experiencing) and “experiential” (collective experience/practice), which provides a “conceptual handle” (p. 646) to articulate interdependent (symbiotic) relationships between the “personal”, the “experiential” and the objective:

It can be argued that part of the “personal” knowledge can become part of the “experiential” dimension over time during the process of participation in a group, and that part of the “experiential” knowledge can become absorbed into the “objective” dimension over time through the process of collaboration. Following the similar argument, it is proposed that part of the “objective” knowledge can also be transferred to the “experiential” domain, and part of the “experiential” knowledge to the “personal” domain. It is further proposed that this symbiotic idea of transference between “personal” “experiential” and the “objective” provides an insightful framework for designing interfacing architectures for “in-between” interactions. It is this symbiotic notion of transference and “between-ness”, which provides an interdependent relationship between cognition and action, and thus the core concept of interfacing and collaboration. (p. 646)

The notion of symbiosis provides a conceptual basis to design interfacing architectures for the intercultural interactions. It provides a conceptual tool to find coherence between diversities, ambiguities and uncertainties of the human situation in seeking interdependence between the reality and actuality, between the objective and the tacit. This conceptual tool can be further combined with theories in educational technology and diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1995) when considering distance education as an innovative learning approach.

Other concept:
"culture of the artificial" enables individuals (or groups) from two different cultural spaces to create a third artificial cultural space in which to meet and share and pool their common cultural experiences for a common purpose, while recognizing and accepting their cultural differences as a further resources for cross-cultural learning-valorizing of cultures (Gill, 2007).

Gill, K. S. (2007). Rethinking the cross-cultural interaction architecture. Artificial Intelligence and Society, 21, 639-647.

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