What it means to be a self - and a self communicating and being in a particular culture - are key issues interwoven throughout Min-Sun Kim's impressive text, Non-Western Perspectives on Human Communication. Going beyond cultural descriptions or instructions on adapting to specific cultures, the author interrogates the very core assumptions underlying the study of human communication and challenges longstanding individualistic, Western models on which much intercultural research is based. Kim proposes a non-western way of conceptualizing identity, or the "self" - the cornerstone of cultural research -- illuminating how traditional western and non-western views can be blended into a broader, more realistic understanding of cultures and communication. Grounding her work in a thorough knowledge of the literature, she challenges students and researchers alike to reexamine their approach to intercultural study.
I. INTRODUCTION1. "Who am I?": Cultural Variations in Self-Systems Evolution of Western Self-Construction: "America's Civil Religion" Interdependent Self-Construals-An Alternative Framework2. Independent and Interdependent Models of the Self as Cultural Frame 3. Why Self-Construals are Useful Parismony of Explanation: Impact of Culture Cultural Relativity of Communication Theoriesii. CULTURAL RELATIVITY OF COMMINCATION CONSTRUCTS AND THEORIES: "U.S.- CENTRISM"4. "Communication Apprehension": "Deficiency" or "Politeness"? Motivation to "Avoid" Verbal Communication Traditional View: Communication "Avoidance" as a Deficiency Communication Avoidance Stemming from a Sensitivity to Social Contexts Implications5. Motivation to "Approach" Verbal Communication: Is Communication Approach Always Healthy? Assertiveness: "Standing up for your own Rights" Argumentativeness: A Subset of Assertiveness Critique and Summary6. Conflict Management Styles: Is Avoidance Really a "Lose-Lose"? Prior Conflict Management Typologies Individualistic Bias in Past Conceptualizations of Conflict Styles7. Cognitive Consistency: A Cultural Assumption? Fundamental Assumptions of Cognitive Dissonance Theory Is Cognitive Dissonance a Culture-Bound Concept?8. Attitude-Behavior Consistency: Cultural Ideal of the Individualistic Society Predicting Behaviors: Deemphasizing Situations Over Attitudes Emphasizing Other Sources of Behavior9. Susceptibility to Social Influence: Conformity or "Tact"? An Eco-Cultural Explanation of Conformity Conformity as "Social Sensitivity," Independence as "Insensitivity"10. Internal Control Ideology and Communication: Are Internals "Good Guys" and Externals "Bad Guys"? Internal Control Ideology Relationship between Locus of Control and Communication Ideology11. Deceptive Communication: Moral Choice or Social Necessity? Deception as a Moral Issue: Independent Perspective Deception as a Social Necessity: Interdependent Perspective12. Self-Disclosure: Bragging vs. Negative Self-Disclosure Motivational Influences on Styles of Self-Disclosure13. Silence: "Is It Really Golden?" Silence as Malfunctioning of (Human) Machines Neglected Component of Human Communication: Silence14. Acculturative Communication Competence: Who Bears the Burden of Adjustment? Assimilation Model: "Marginal Man [sic]" Perspective Alternation Model: Bicultural Perspective Host Communication Competence: One-Way Assimilation Bicultural Communication Competence: Alternation ModelIII. TOWARDS A BI-DIMENSIONAL MODEL OF CULTURAL IDENTITY15. The Sources of Dualism: Mechanistic Cartesian Worldview Bias Toward "Yang" Communication Behaviors Particle/Wave Paradox: Implications of Personhood for Human Communication16. Dimensionality of Cultural Identity Unidimensional Model of Self-Construals Bi-dimensional Model of Self-Construals Support for the Bi-dimensional Model Formation of Bicultural IdentityIV. CONCLUSION-TOWARDS MODELS OF MATURITY17. Into the Future: Implications for Future InquiryPostscriptReferences
Min-Sun Kim (Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1992) is Professor in the Department of Speech at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her research focuses on the role of cognition in conversational styles among people of different cultural orientations. She has applied her models (based on conversational constraints) in the areas of requesting, re-requesting, conflict styles, communication motivation, etc. She has conducted extensive research in this and related areas and has published more than 40 research papers in major communication journals, plus several more papers which are in press. Her two newest theoretical developments, focusing on relativity of communication constructs, appeared in two consecutive volumes of Communication Yearbook (Vol. 22 and Vol. 23) . She is the recipient of numerous top paper awards in major international communication conferences, and was recently invited to give a keynote speech on Paradigms of Cultural Identity at the 3rd annual conference of the David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong. She has served as a Division Secretary for the International and Intercultural Communication Division of the International Communication Association. Since 1994, the author has also served as a workshop leader for the annual Summer Workshop for the Development of Intercultural Coursework at Colleges and Universities (which is run by the Center for International Business Education and Research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa). She is currently serving as an Associate Editor for Communication Reports and also as a reviewer for various communication journals.