• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.


In recent years, social scientists have become increasingly sensitive to the ways in which their pursuit of knowledge is influenced by their cultural baggage. Researchers can be vitally influenced by the values and normative assumptions of the culture in which they participate (Gergen, 1979). Because they participate in the presumptive base on which the meaning of scientific conduct is premised, it is difficult to forge a body of knowledge independent of this base. The linkage between scientific conduct and cultural context raises questions of profound importance. In what specific ways and to what extent does cultural baggage hinder the quest for objective understanding? And what particular influences have shaped what passes for knowledge in present-day communication research?

There is a growing awareness on the part ...

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