• 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.

Self-Disclosure: Bragging vs. Negative Self-Disclosure
Self-disclosure: Bragging vs. negative self-disclosure

Mature rice plants bow down lower.

— Korean expression

Unless you blow your own horn, who will?

— American expression

Self-presentation is one of the fundamental and important processes by which people negotiate identities for themselves in their social worlds (Tice, Butler, Muraven, & Stillwell, 1995). Self-presentation researchers have long remarked on how people are adept at modifying and tailoring their self-disclosures to produce the optimal, desired effects on their listeners. In the privacy of one's own mind, perhaps, one may be relatively free to imagine oneself as having any sort of identity; however, serious identity claims generally require social validation by other people, so the construction of identity requires persuading others to see one as having desired traits ...

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