Abstract/Details

A social constructionist perspective on the Chinese <i>lian</i>/<i>mian</i> (face?) practices


2000 2000

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Abstract (summary)

The Chinese face practices lie at the heart of Chinese culture. These practices constitute a systematic grammar of action and a unique way of life which are proving to be incapable of facing the challenges of the modern life of instrumental rationality unless they get transformed. How can such a system of cultural practices get transformed so that the living Chinese tradition and the modern Western culture get creatively and selectively merged? How can Chinese culture emerge as a new and rejuvenated, open and flexible culture both sustainable and adaptable? This dissertation is a search for the answers.

This dissertation presents a social constructionist account for the Chinese face practices. It covers their various dimensions such as historical, emotional and consequential. It also offers a social constructionist critique of the generalist theories of face and ethnocultural studies of Chinese face practices. Using a social constructionist tool called Circular Questioning (CQ) together with the case study method, the study generates a tentative model of creative engagement with and grounded transformation of the Chinese face-centered social practices on the basis of the social constructionist critique of the revolutionary and individualistic models of transformation of the Chinese face practices. The study concludes that social constructionists in the Chinese contexts have a dual research agenda. On one hand, they have to curtail the excess of communalism which undermines the individual agency due to the face practices; on the other hand, they need to prevent the onslaught of unrestrained individual agency over community due to the complete abandonment of the face practices in the rush for the individual interests by means of capital, law and technology.

It also examines the affordances and constraints of CQ in the Chinese contexts and identifies what the author thinks are the major similarities and differences between the Chinese version of social constructionism and the Western communication version of social construction ism. The examination, comparison and contrast reveal that the Western social constructionism, a constructive modification of the modern Western culture, is one big step closer to Chinese culture than the modern Western culture. The two cultures also have a lot to learn from each other. The study theoretically implies a promising future of intercultural relations between the East and the West which both social constructionists with a research agenda in the East and those in the West can jointly construct.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Communication;
Minority & ethnic groups;
Sociology;
Cultural anthropology
Classification
0459: Communication
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
0326: Cultural anthropology
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Chinese; Facework; Lian/mian; Social constructionist
Title
A social constructionist perspective on the Chinese <i>lian</i>/<i>mian</i> (face?) practices
Author
Jia, Wenshan
Number of pages
285
Publication year
2000
Degree date
2000
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 61/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780599645684, 0599645687
Advisor
Cronen, Vernon E.
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
9960762
ProQuest document ID
304605174
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304605174
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