First Advisor

Robert Gould

Date of Publication

Spring 3-26-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Conflict Resolution


Conflict Resolution




Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1902-1982), Brazil -- Civilization, Collectivism -- Case studies, Individualism -- Case studies, Globalization -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 145 pages)


Cultures, subcultures, and individuals occupy different positions in the low-context/individualistic and the high-context/collectivistic spectrum, and they shift due to factors such as urbanization, economic development and cultural globalization. In this study, I examine Sérgio Buarque de Holanda's theory of the cordial man and how it illustrates qualities of the high-context Brazilian culture. Within the framework of grounded theory, these qualities are evaluated from the perspective of intergenerational dyads--fathers and sons--that have been exposed to an urbanized and globalized environment in order to determine whether and how a shift from high-context to low-context is occurring. The participants were interviewed to explore perception of self, upbringing, decision-making process within the family, father and son relationships, intrafamilial communication, ways to influence and be influenced, history of conflict, and urbanization and globalization. Their responses revealed the extent to which their values were individualistic or group-oriented and if the cordial man behavior was also present in the intimacy of their homes. In sum, I reach three conclusions: technological and cultural globalization propagates low-context values and behaviors; sons are in a transitional state, in which individual goals are relevant enough to challenge parental expectations, but still cause guilt when pursued; and, the cordial man still exists in the urban and globalized world. Implications for families, family therapists, counselors and mediators are discussed.


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