• 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.


At the fusion of the double spiral there is a vortex, and winds of dissolution; beyond is a still center and the bliss of union.

— Sjöö and Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth, 1991, p. 173

Intercultural communication research during the last decade has perceived the self as either individualistic or collectivistic. In a multicultural society, the development of bicultural or expanded selves may be viewed as an asset because such perspectives can diminish rigid culture-typed behaviors. Consciousness of one's own cultural identity has been called a state of “dynamic betweenness” by Yoshikawa (1988). The suggestion here is that of (a) continual and comfortable movement between cultural identities such that an integrated, multicultural existence is maintained and (b) conscious, deliberate ...

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