Sensual Shock Promoting the Study of Sentience in Theorizing Culture Shock

Sally O. Hastings (1)
(1) Nicholson School of Communication University of Central Florida , United States


This theoretical essay examines the need for greater understanding of the cultural mind of sojourners by examining the role of embodiment and sentience in our theorizing of “culture shock” and cultural adaptation. Theoretical and empirical/experiential bases for treating sensual experiences as a basis and form of human discourse are provided, followed by a brief historical overview of the theorizing of culture shock and cultural adaptation. “Sensual shock” is advanced as sensitizing concept that serves as a corollary to existing theories of adaptation. A brief exemplar from previous research demonstrates the relevance of sensual shock to intercultural sojourns. Finally, the theoretical and practical benefits of this shift toward understanding cultural discourses in theorizing are explored.

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Sally O. Hastings
(Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Sally O. Hastings, Nicholson School of Communication University of Central Florida

Dr. Sally O. Hastings is an Associate Professor at the Nicholson School of Communication, University of Central Florida.  Her research interests center around issues of intercultural adaptation, bereavement and marginalization.  She has published in journals such as Research on Language and Social Interaction, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, and Communication & Medicine.

Hastings, S. O. (2015). Sensual Shock Promoting the Study of Sentience in Theorizing Culture Shock. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 15(1), 1–13.

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