Argentina

Universality Time (Quantification): 

Anecdote: In 2007-2008 most cities in Argentina, with exception of the province of San Luis, utilized daylight saving time for 11 weeks, from December 30, 2007, until March 16, 2008. Argentina’s congress approved the daylight saving change as part of a government plan to conserve energy.

Many Argentines were completely against daylight saving time.  They believed that it was detrimental to their health and negatively affected their moods. Many thought that there was no need to change their biological rhythm. Argentines also thought it affected their personal schedules and activities. Moreover, there were some who felt that the daylight saving schedule did not provide solutions to the energy problems the country faced. Others have complained that the government was slow to announce the official date and time, therefore causing confusion and concern among locals and businesses. Some of them felt that the government did not give them enough time to adjust to the daylight saving schedule.

Interpretation: We could interpret these thought processes and reactions as too big a shift to the Argentine culture and mentality that they did not want to accommodate or physically could not accommodate. Daylight savings, required a great mental, body and mind shift that wound up being detrimental to their health and schedules. Argentines wanted to keep to their more flexible and already developed harmony with nature for a more standard and agreed upon reality. There was also a noted high lack of planning and communication from the government.

Universality Space (Concepts of Boundaries)

Anecdote: A common experience in the subway system in Buenos Aires, Argentina would require being comfortable with small, tight spaces. During the mornings and after work, subway trains may arrive, however, many times you may have to wait for the next train because it is so crowded. Three minutes, train arrives. When you finally decide to squeeze onto the subway, often times you will need push your way in through the crowd. You many even have to relay on other people around you to keep yourself up right. When you finally arrive to your stop, you again then have to push again to make you way though to get to the stop. During this whole process, people will be respectful and watch out for you.

Interpretation: We can interpret this as flexibility with space. People understand that physically boundaries may be crossed, but there is also a level of respect shown when these boundaries are crossed. It is as if the boundaries between people’s bodies are seen as one.

Point of References Time (Laws and Rules)

Anecdote: In the main cities, streets are very well named and aligned with numbers/names of previous soldiers or countries. Use of landmarks and neighborhoods is utilized well. Many people stand in long lines, people stand in bus lines, lines at grocery stores (spend a lot of time waiting and lining up places).

Getting directions is easy, everyone tries to help. Bus drivers will assist you in finding your stop. Taxi drivers talk to you about your life (often known as your personal psychologist).

 Interpretation: The ease in finding locations is also assisted by the people who are in charge of the public transportation system. People have an understanding between others to categorize and align themselves when they are in line, they respect the informal systems.

Point of References Space (Descriptions)

Anecdote: In the main cities, streets are very well named and aligned with numbers/names of previous soldiers or countries. Use of landmarks and neighborhoods is utilized well. It is fairly easy to find an address or location without a map because you could follow the number on the streets. When I got lost in Buenos Aires my first month there, I was able to find my way without a map because of the street numbers and the frequency of the plazas and parks every 10-20 blocks.

Interpretation: The well established roads and street names is created from the British who originally helped with the layout of the city. This reflects successful and well developed infrastructure, but does not reflect Argentines relaxed and flexible emphasis on time.

Point of References Action (Formal vs. Non- Formal Reality)

Anecdote: Very big on contracts and having things stamped/signed. Can’t do anything without a stamp! Paperwork or agreements are taken very seriously. I couldn’t get my Student visa because I didn’t have the real actual signature of the president of my school and the certificate didn’t have the correct stamp.

Interpretation: This reflects the importance of traditional systems and importance of signatures. This is a very formal practice and Argentines live strictly by this rule.

Structuring Time (Future Orientation)

Anecdote: In the moment is important. Generally late to family and friends gathering, not to business. Family and friends expect people to arrive late to gatherings.

Interpretation: People are flexible and open to plans being changed. They are also understanding when people arrive late as it is not looked upon as rude, but natural. Staying in the moment is of high importance which allows for a more relaxed atmosphere and interactions amongst friends and family.

Structuring Space (Planning)

Anecdote: The British planned Buenos Aires and other major cities in Argentina with French influence, so they were very well structured and laid out. Recent architecture has followed the layout of the city, however, there are new modern buildings, such as in Puerto Madero, not in the same linear layout and they are more randomly placed. Major parks and botanical gardens were also modeled after French designs. Some cities in the northwest and in the center of the country, such as Córdoba, Salta, Jujuy, and San Miguel de Tucumán, still have good examples of colonial architecture, however, the British heavily influenced the layout of the roads and plaza.

Interpretation: The layout of the city is constructed by the British, showing a very systematic and mathematical structure. Although the Argentines have a city built upon such formal layouts, this is not reflected in how the city actually functions.

Structuring Action (Rationality)

Anecdote: Written documentation is needed, computers are used more often, but still use old systems. Oral tradition of story telling is common in families. Gossiping is very common (chisme). Slang words are often used amongst friends (lumfardo).

Interpretation: The oral tradition is very popular and necessary in everyday life. The sharing of personal stories reflects the importance of knowing about other people’s lives and obtaining a certain level of connectedness.