Thursday, December 27, 2012

Breaking Culture Shock 1: Montreal

This mini-series, Breaking Culture Shock, fits within Place Memes in its focus on specific places (with most titles featuring a place of some kind).  But blog entries entitled Breaking Culture Shock: [Place] will also focus upon the use of maps, literature and geospatial technologies in processes of overcoming or, in some cases, succumbing to, culture shock.

This starts in Montreal when, after a period of reflecting upon the term past (my first in England), I assess successes and shortcomings in my process of becoming a real part of my (and shortly my wife's) new home. This starts with the question/cliche of whether or not culture shock is worse when you get back home when, in essence, you come to identify with the culture that has 'shocked' you and use that to criticize the 'home' culture, or the 'original' culture.

This process re-iterates itself with every displacement, and I have a fair bit of experience with culture shock. I invented my own special brand of flanerie when I first lived in Montreal, partly as an experiment in creating a methodology appropriate for my PhD, and partly as a way of overcoming the 'internal' culture shock one experiences without ever leaving the borders of Canada: that of an anglophone (to the core) entering the francophone (i.e. Quebec) world.

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