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Therefore, no comprehensive description can ever be formulated about a particular group.Any attempt to understand a group must take the dimensions of time, context, and individual differences into account.
Though largely below the surface, cultures are a shifting, dynamic set of starting points that orient us in particular ways and away from other directions.
Each of us belongs to multiple cultures that give us messages about what is normal, appropriate, and expected.
When others do not meet our expectations, it is often a cue that our cultural expectations are different.
We may mistake differences between others and us for evidence of bad faith or lack of common sense on the part of others, not realizing that common sense is also cultural.
The symbolic dimension is the place where we are constantly making meaning and enacting our identities.
Cultural messages from the groups we belong to give us information about what is meaningful or important, and who we are in the world and in relation to others -- our identities.
Culture is largely below the surface, influencing identities and meaning-making, or who we believe ourselves to be and what we care about -- it is not easy to access these symbolic levels since they are largely outside our awareness.
Cultural influences and identities become important depending on context.
Therefore, it is useful for people in conflict to have interactive experiences that help them see each other as broadly as possible, experiences that foster the recognition of shared identities as well as those that are different.
Since culture is so closely related to our identities (who we think we are), and the ways we make meaning (what is important to us and how), it is always a factor in conflict.