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August 10, 2009


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Having lived in Southern Africa, this looks to me like a classic cultural clash, not a deliberate insult to the good Mrs C. In traditional African culture individuals would not usually have their own opinions; rather, it is families that have opinions. Within each extended family, the adult family members would argue about an issue until a consensus was reached, and then all members of the family would publicly adhere to that shared view. It is possible the student was asking for the opinion of the Clinton family, implicitly assuming that the Clintons would have a single, unified view.

Perhaps no other aspect of culture more starkly divides contemporary western society from African society. This has implications for practical issues in Africa such as the design and implementation of opinion polls and marketing research surveys (on which topic I have published), as well the marketing of consumer products and the execution of public health campaigns.


Ian said: "I must say I don't blame Hillary for getting annoyed - and I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with North Korea either"

Care to take a guess at why Hillary would loose her cool? Who do you blame? Please, tell me. Give it your best shot.


That's an interesting bit of context, thanks Peter. And it suggests a lack of cultural sensitivity on the part of the student.

AllenS - you might take a guess at my view yourself, given the way I wrote the post. But tell us what you think, I'm sure it's more interesting.


Ian - Following my comment, I wrote a blog-post with some more detail here:


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