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In situations in which people of different cultures meet, it is people who are unaware of subtle cultural differences can easily find themselves in a situation. Here are two simple examples:

  • Someone from a culture where people generally smile to passing strangers might assume, when in a foreign land, that the locals do not welcome their visit.
  • A waiter expecting a tip might become angry with a frequently returning foreign customer unfamiliar with the custom.

Within communication studies, cross-cultural studies, or any similar field of study, is there a special term to describe these "situations of misunderstanding" which are brought about not by a language barrier, but by differences in culture, and a mutual lack of understanding of the culture difference by one or more parties involved?

The answers in Word or phrase meaning 'Misinterpretation of tone due to language or cultural barrier' do not fit this meaning:

  • First, they have the connotation that "someone has made a mistake violating the norms of a particular culture", which is not always the case in these situations.
  • Second, I am looking for a term that does not refer to a specific action committed by one person, but by the created situation.
  • Finally, these words do not address the potential mutuality of the situation, but rather, connote blame on one individual.
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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, RyeɃreḁd, David M, TimLymington Mar 2 '14 at 20:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

You may have named it yourself: "cultural misunderstanding" seems quite clear. I'm not sure there is a special term. – user3158 Mar 1 '14 at 15:17
As already explained in my post, the linked questions and answers in that other post are similar, but not what I am looking for. – Village Mar 1 '14 at 15:30

While not from a particular field of study, various terms come to mind:

  • cultural confusion
  • cultural insensitivity
  • cultural faux pas
  • culture blindness
  • mores misunderstanding

There are also terms to describe the characteristic in a person exhibiting these patterns, such as:

  • chauvinistic
  • enthnocentric
  • self-centered
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