A Methodological Policy?
While I was in Afghanistan I came across two statements that I thought made for good research policies while trying to understand social action:
“One should take the doer back into the deed after having conceptually removed the doer and thus emptied the deed. … one should take doing something, the ‘aim,’ the ‘intention,’ the ‘purpose,’ back into the deed after having artificially removed all this and thus emptied the deed” (Nietzche, Will to Power).
– and –
“I have accepted that it is right to say that the condition of generating descriptions of social activity is being able in principle to participate in it. It invovles ‘mutual knowledge,’ shared by observer and participants whose action constitutes and reconstitutes the social world” (Giddens, Profiles and Critiques in Social Theory, p. 15).
If you want to understand how people do cross-cultural interactions, why not look at how they do them, understand how such interactions are accomplished in their own right, see if you can acquire the ability to perform in a similar manner. Then maybe its fair to say that you understand, in an adequate manner, the phenomenon.