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Will the tidal wave of globalization lead us to a bland and uniform cultural landscape dominated by a unified cultural perspective? Will cultural imperialism triumph in the twenty-first century? Or will the cultural imperative that drives human behavior through religion, language, geography and history maintain its influence on the human consciousness? Richard Lewis explores these questions and proposes his own thesis in this sweeping new book that examines the forces that keep us from taking off our “cultural spectacles” and explains how cultural traits are so deeply embedded as to resist the homogenization predicted by so many others.
As with his other books, Lewis uses easy-to-understand diagrams throughout to illustrate his concepts. His original three-category classification of cultures—linear-active, multi-active, and reactive—comes to life through his elegant design.
About the Author
Richard D. Lewis is chairman of Richard Lewis Communications, an international institute for cross-cultural and language training with offices in more than a dozen countries. Author of the best-selling When Cultures Collide (Nicholas Brealey Publishing), Lewis is widely considered one of the world’s most renowned intercultralists and linguists. He speaks ten European and two Asian languages and has spent five years in Japan, where he tutored Empress Michiko and other members of the Japanese Imperial Family. He lectures and consults worldwide with clients that include Mercedes-Benz, Nokia, Rolls Royce, Volvo, Deutsche Bank, British Airways and Unilever. He was knighted by President Ahtisaari of Finland in 1997.
The Cultural Imperative—Global Trends in the 21st Century
Richard D. Lewis
First published by Intercultural Press. For information contact:
Intercultural Press, Inc.
Yarmouth, Maine 04096 USA
Nicholas Brealey Publishing
3–5 Spafield Street
London, EC1R 4QB, UK
© 2003 by Richard Lewis
Design and production interior and cover: Patty J. Topel
Cover Art: Painting titled “Cross Culture” by Richard D. Lewis
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Printed in Finland
06 05 04 03 02 1 2 3 4 5
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lewis, Richard D.
The cultural imperative: global trends in the 21st century/ Richard D. Lewis
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Culture. 2. Cross-cultural orientation. 3. Globalization. 4. Religion and culture. 5. Cognition and culture.
To Serge Morette and Michel Tissier, two splendid Frenchmen
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self-same winds that blow;
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the galesThat tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life;
’Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York: Hearst’s International Library Company, 1916
About the Author
Richard D. Lewis has been active in the fields of applied and anthropological linguistics for over thirty-five years. His work in several fields of communicative studies has involved him in the organization of courses and seminars for many of the world’s leading industrial and financial companies.
In 1961 he pioneered the world’s first English by Television series, produced by Suomen Television, and subsequently was script writer for the first BBC series, Walter and Connie, in 1962.
He has lived and worked in several European countries, where his clients included ABB, Allianz, Banco de España, Banque de France, Deutsche Bank, Ericsson, Fiat, Gillette, IBM, Mercedes Benz, Nestlé, Nokia, Saab, and Volvo.
He also spent five years in Japan, where he was tutor to Empress Michiko and other members of the Japanese Imperial Family. During this period, his services were requested by firms such as Nomura, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sanyo, Mitsui, and Nippon Steel.
More recently he has been heavily involved in the intercultural field, founding companies in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Brazil, teaching communication skills in these countries as well as in Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Mr. Lewis, who speaks ten European and two Asian languages, is currently chairman of Richard Lewis Communications plc, an international institute of language and cross-cultural training with offices in over a dozen countries. His recent book, When Cultures Collide, is regarded as the classic work on intercultural issues and was the Spring main selection of the U.S. Book of the Month Club in 1997.
Mr. Lewis was knighted by President Ahtisaari of Finland in March 1997.