Saturday, November 16, 2013

International Marketing - A Cultural Metaphor for Greece (Part 2)


When it comes to Agon, we refer to the manner the comedy-like activities are performed in the daily life of the Greeks. Agon refers to the formal convention according to which the struggle between the characters should be scripted in order to supply the basis of the action. Agon is a formal debate which takes place between the chief characters in a Greek play, protagonist and antagonist, usually with the chorus acting as judge.

We can easily spot the motives suggested by Agon in all aspects of Greek society. Politics, political actions and debates, social arenas, collectivistic activities, TV programs, etcetera are often organized like Agon.

A modern Greek debate that reminds us of Agon

Greece is a country of spectacle, music and discussion and public critic. Greeks revel when communicating in an expressive manner, while the level of noise tends to be high in public spaces. People tend to congregate rather than be isolated from one another. Bystanders do not mind becoming part of the action like the audience of the ancient theater either. Thus, the externalities of Agon on everyday Greek life and activities are more than obvious.


The Chorus, though it no longer told the story, was very important, for it set the atmosphere of the play. The Chorus also served another purpose. Even today, in extreme occasions, when the intensity of a situation (perceived as a lifestyle, political, cultural change etc threat) becomes almost too great for any Greek to bear, relief is often found in some very comic episode which is introduced to slacken the tension. The Chorus executed this by a song of purest poetry.

Chorus, Lysistrata

In addition, the mission of the Chorus was to preconceive the audience that the comedy is acceptable and pleasant, in other terms that it was “safe”. Greeks are not at all comfortable in ambiguous situations: the unforeseen is always there ready to “lay an ambush”. In Greece, as in all high uncertainty avoidance societies, bureaucracy, laws and rules are very important to make the world a safer place to live in, even though they do not always work.

Greeks need to have good and relaxing moments in their everyday life, chatting with colleagues, enjoying a long meal or dancing with guests and friends. Due to their high score in this dimension Greeks are very passionate and demonstrative people: emotions are easily shown in their body language, small group behavior, greeting behavior, even in their traditions. The Chorus respected these exteriority characteristics and reproduced them during its actions, as a micrography of the Greek society.

Last but not least, in Thesmophoriazusae there are two Choruses. The doubling of the Chorus is a phenomenon that is repeated both in The Frogs and in Lysistrata, where the two choruses (Old Men and Old Women), appear on stage together after entering separately. The interconnection of the two choruses with the direction of the collective unconscious (as suggested by both Plato and Carl Jung) for both ancient and modern Greeks is more than obvious. The Greek people still pay attention to the elders, since they subconsciously form an archetype for wisdom and respect. Masculinity and femininity social Greek models are also exposed here; If we try to visualize the double Chorus process, it shows that Greek women have the dynamics to be equal to men in terms of social activities, even though, since ancient times, they often tended to stay in the house and define their social status by satisfying their family needs. A controversy that still exists in modern society.

Does the Greek woman still heterodefine her social role?


In short, a cultural metaphor represents a way to obtain new and deep insights into a group's or nation's culture. Cultural metaphors also provide a method for discussing cross-cultural issues, differences, and similarities in a collegial rather than a stereotypical and perhaps hostile fashion. In developing such insights, it is critical that the cross-cultural research be taken into consideration, and it is for this reason that both the dimensional perspective and the communication perspective should supplement cultural metaphors.  Cultural metaphors represent only a starting point for understanding a culture; they are easy to use, but do require much thought to avoid inaccurate stereotyping; and they can be supplemented by other methods.  Most importantly, cultural metaphors allow managers with limited time to gain some understanding of a group or nation's culture that they can apply quickly to the myriad problems that they face daily in international activities.