• 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.

Toward a Bidimensional Model of Cultural Identity
Toward a bidimensional model of cultural identity

At this point, readers will appreciate how strongly the development of human communication theory in the United States has been based on individualistic orientations and empirical research involving subjects representing the mainstream U.S. culture. There are common patterns underlying the preferred styles of human communication and functioning in the United States. The low external validity of such research and theory has been recognized by many researchers, but the proposed solution to the problem has frequently consisted only of recommendations to examine other samples of the population to test generalizability. According to Brokner and Chen (1996), in evaluating whether people from different cultures vary in their psychological make-up, researchers would be well advised ...

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