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Child Development

From the perspective of social constructivism, the cultural shock is one of the possible forms of individual experiencing a clash with an alien socio-cultural reality. Both the actualization of otherness, and the cultural shock, belong to the subjective reality. This is the result of the mental activity of a particular person, the product of his consciousness. It is important that these elements of subjective reality can be objectified by a person within the framework of social interactions in the form of verbalized and unverbalized actions. An extreme form of such objectification may be non-constructive forms of interaction between the carriers of cultural differences, such as the aggressive manifestations of intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts, extremism, xenophobia and others.
In this paper we have tried to answer the question of how cultural differences are experienced by a person and how these differences are actualized in the form of culture shock. We also wanted to know how the culture shock is constructed at the level of consciousness of respondents and in what form is manifested their reaction.
As a theoretical and methodological basis, we used the theory of social constructivism. We also used the snowball method and the saturation method. As a result, descriptions of situations of cultural shock were obtained in the form of unstructured texts. The main research method was the “cultural shock” method. To work with texts, techniques of structural analysis of text, typology and qualitative analysis of documents were used.
As the result of the cultural shock situations descriptions analysis, we found the general structure of the descriptions that was typical of all the stories. Based on this structure, we have compiled a matrix of descriptions of cultural shock situations. Also, the main types of respondents’ reactions to the situation of cultural shock were revealed.
Most situations of cultural shock describe short-term contacts with an “alien” culture. Therefore, in most cases, respondents describe cultural shocks associated with the manifestations of culture on everyday (food, clothing, manners, basic life manifestations, etc.) and conventional (personal space, interpersonal distance, forms of expression of feelings, typical forms of relations and interaction, styles of thinking, etc.) levels. At the same time, almost none of the respondents described the situation of cultural shock associated with the spiritual sphere of social relations (values, worldview, ethics, aesthetics, etc.). The most likely reason is that cultural shocks associated with the spiritual realm are usually experienced by persons with a deeper immersion in “alien” culture. In addition, it can be noted that the majority of respondents preferred not to express their reaction explicitly. The prevailing reaction of the respondents can be called as “surprise, without negative coloring”.