My conversation partner is named ********; he is an international student from Afghanistan. I met ****** at a party and the first time we met to discuss my project, he was late.
High and low context cultural taxonomy is defined by Edward T. Hall as a way of understanding different cultural orientations (Kim, Pan & Park, 1998). “Hall argues that every human being is faced with so many perceptual stimuli- sights, sounds, smells, tastes and bodily sensations that it is impossible to pay attention to them all” (Lustig & Koester, 2010). High context cultures prefer to convey messages in which most of the meaning is implied by the physical surroundings or is thought to be part of the individual’s internalized beliefs. Low context cultures prefer to use low context messages that are vested in explicit code. Hall’s cultural taxonomy includes studying the use of covert and overt messages, importance of ingroups and outgroups and orientation to time (Lustig &Koester, 2010).
Afghanistan is towards the middle of the spectrum in the area of high and low context culture (Lustig &Koester, 2010). According to Giger and Davidhizar “most Afghans can be expressive, warm, other orientated, shy and modest. Some may have a ﬂat affect to protect others from assessing their true inner feelings. Many Afghans respect their elders and professionals and do not desire to waste these individual’s time” (Giger & Davidhizar, 2002). Their orientation to time falls between being highly open and being highly organized (Lustig &Koester, 2010). “Most Afghans are more past and present than future-time orientated, but generally they tend to follow two different time concepts, as follows: 1 ‘On Time’ for ofﬁcial business, and 2 ‘Spontaneous Time’ is for social and informal gathering” (Giger & Davidhizar, 2002).
According to ****** however, people in Afghanistan are usually on time. When he spoke to me during our first meeting he said “it’s unusual that I was the one that was...