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An Existential-Dialectical-Phenomenological Approach to Understanding Cultural Tilts: Implications for Multicultural Research and Practice

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An existential-dialectical-phenomenological approach is applied to the understanding of the universal tensions between multicultural and transcultural value-laden modalities of existence. Differences in cultural comportments are described as variations in local human ways in dealing with universal and bipolar existential modalities, values, or needs, such as freedom versus limitation, independence versus (inter)dependence, and connectedness versus separateness. Cultures are described as being organized around and as providing their members with ways of dealing with these value-laden dialectical dilemmas. Cultures are further depicted as legitimating one dialectical pole to the detriment of the other dialectical pole. Some cultures, for example, legitimate the dialectical poles of freedom, independence, and separateness, while deemphasizing or denying the dialectical poles of limitation, (inter)dependence, and connectedness. Other cultures legitimate the opposite. These one-sided value orientations of cultures are referred to as cultural tilts. The implications for the practice of multicultural counseling and phenomenologically-based qualitative research are delineated.

Affiliations: 1: Rosemont College


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