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date: 20 September 2020

Summary and Keywords

Mass media are global and involve numerous and varied cultures whose customs, languages, beliefs, and arts are different. The differences require bridges for mutual understanding, and such bridges are offered as cross-cultural communication. The latter point raises a question of translation and interpretation, showing how cultures are suppressed, absorbed by other cultures, or how they survive. Historical examples will be provided to form basic canons for an understanding of cross-cultural interpretation. The analyses of interpretation suggest that cultures belong to civilizations with more fundamental and more encompassing structures, capable of providing frameworks for their own cultures. At this level, cultures become symbolic designs of a given civilization. With this turn, cross-cultural communication is shifted toward comparative civilizations and their capacity to offer more fundamental frameworks of cross-cultural communication. Moving through major theories of comparative civilization, the critical questions are as follows: Does a specific theory favor the structure of one civilization over others, and does it contain features that do not belong to other civilizations? In brief, do scholars of civilizations assume the concepts of their civilization and contextualize all other civilizations in one context? In spite of these questions, civilizations, by virtue of their cultures as symbolic designs, offer phenomena that allow the formation of basic rules available in all civilizations. By comparing such rules, it is possible to decipher the way that such rules form the communicative ground at the level of cultural symbolic designs as interpretations of the broader structures—civilizations.

Keywords: civilization, interpretation, symbolic designs, power and suppression, philosophy, Judaism–Christianity–Islam, West, China, India, global open society

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