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Understanding Micronesia:
A Cultural Guide
for Researchers and Visitors

Author: Tom Hogan

ISBN: 978–983–9054–49–1
Published in 2008
110 pages. 14 x 21.5 cm.
Paperback: US$15
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“Tom Hogan recognizes that cultural biases, which have over and again undermined efforts at peace and development, are the root cause of the breakdown of communication between peoples. Understanding Micronesia , which the author modestly presents as a record of his own survival of cultural collision, is an attempt to help others avoid the paralyzing effects of cultural collision. Although it focuses exclusively on island Micronesia, citing one example after another of the pitfalls of intercultural communication, Hogan's work speaks to the type of misunderstandings that occur in any part of the world. Should one stand or remain seated when a respected leader enters the room? To what extent can one afford to reveal personal emotions or beliefs when speaking casually with an acquaintance? Simply to know that there are very different answers to these questions, and perhaps to know how the different responses reflect distinct features of the cultures, is to set the stage for a conversation that has half a chance of becoming a successful exercise in communication. And who knows? The outcome might even be peace and development.”

Francis X. Hezel SJ, Director, Micronesian Seminar

"Tom Hogan's Understanding Micronesia is a welcome addition to the growing body of works on communication in the Pacific. Based on many years of productive fieldwork, this book is theoretically sophisticated and rich in insights. The author has lucidly and cogently laid bare some of the very significant issues that impede cross-cultural understanding in this region. I strongly recommend this book to all those interested in culture and communication in Micronesia and beyond."

Wimal Dissanayake , University of Hawaii

Tom Hogan has written a detailed, grounded study of Micronesian cultures and communciations. His subtle understanding of this scattered group of very small Pacific communities sheds new light on cross-cultural contact and communication in larger, contemporary societies generally. Hogan's sympathetic analyses of Micronesia will encourage readers to reflect on their own cultural assumptions with greater insight and humility.

Philip Bell, Foundation Professor of Media and Communications,
University of New South Wales

 
Contents of the book
Foreword by Francis X. Hezel SJ, Director, Micronesian Seminar
 
Introduction
 
1. A brief history of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
2. How much do we know about Micronesia?
3. Difficulties with in-the-field research
4. How information might be gained in Micronesia
5. How Micronesian students broke the silence
6. Differences between Micronesian and Western values
7. By way of conclusion
 
Appendix
 
End notes
 
Basic bibliography
 

About the author

Professor Thomas Edward (Tom) Hogan PhD (Macquarie University), MA, BA, Graduate Diploma in Education (Sydney University), Teacher’s Certificate (NSW Government, Australia), LTCL (Licentiate of Trinity College, London, Voice Training). Dr Tom Hogan is a trained teacher and has trained teachers. He is a specialist in curriculum development and training systems, especially at tertiary level. For a time he changed careers and trained, then worked, as a radio and television journalist. His background as a teacher, however, almost inevitably led him into broadcasting training and development.

Tom Hogan has worked professionally as a freelance producer and educator in broadcast radio and in universities world-wide for more than 40 years. He has also worked in the Australian feature film industry. He has worked for most Australian radio networks, and for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s General Features television division in London, for whom he also worked as a consultant trainer. The focus of his work outside Australia is on the training of development radio broadcasters and tertiary-level teachers of skills-based curricula in less developed nations.

As a Broadcast Radio Consultant, he has worked for the broadcasting divisions of governments in 41 countries in the South-East Asia and Pacific regions. In regional workshops in Asia, South-East Asia, the Pacific and Australia he has trained people from a further 14 countries.

Tom Hogan was instrumental in starting Australia’s first degree course in Radio and Television Journalism, at Mitchell College of Advanced Education, now Charles Sturt University. Dr Hogan has also acted as a Visiting Professor at the University of Guam, Adjunct Professor of Australian Mass Communication with Boston University, USA, Senior Research Fellow at Macquarie University, Sydney (a position he still holds), Head of the Radio Department at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore (1991–92), and Senior Fellow in Radio at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University in three appointments between 1995 and 1998 which covered a total of four years.

During February and March, 2001, Dr Hogan worked with fledgling radio stations in Jakarta, Radio Jurnal Perempuan and The Voice of Human Rights. Radio Jurnal Perempuan (the Women’s Radio Magazine) is now broadcast throughout the archipelago and deals exclusively with the analysis of women’s issues and the promotion of women within the Indonesian socio-economic system.
In February and March, 2003, he was involved in seminars and workshops for PT Telekomunikasi (Telkom), Indonesia. The seminars were held in Batam, Bandung, Surabaya and Denpasar. The concentration of the seminars was on upgrading communication skills in top level, senior and middle level managers.
In 2004 he was appointed Adjunct Professor in International Communication within the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus, Brisbane. In November–December, 2005, and again in April–May, 2006, he worked for a total of 12 weeks developing staff skills, assisting in curriculum development and beginning the process of the development of higher degree programs at Padjajaran University near Bandung, Indonesia. He has undertaken projects in Indonesia on 10 occasions since 1986, most during the post-Soeharto period.

His textbook on radio news, Radio News Workbook, first produced for the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 1985, has been revised three times and has been translated into five languages. He is also author of The Broadcast Writer's Handbook (AFRTS, 1987), Micronesia and the West: Avoiding Cultural Collision (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 1988, since revised and updated in 2007) and is co-author of Manage by the Moment: A Guide for Radio Managers, published jointly by UNESCO and Southbound in 1999, as well as a number of peer reviewed journal articles. Dr Hogan has also produced many hundreds of transmitted and screened works in radio, television and film.

 
 
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