• 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.

Independent and Interdependent Models of the Self as Cultural Frame
Independent and interdependent models of the self as cultural frame

Every man for himself, his own ends, the Devil for all.*

— Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (quoted in Bartlett, 2000)

If you congregate, you live. If you scatter, you die.

— Korean, proverb

Triandis (1989) proposed an explanation of culture's influence on behavior. He employed the concept of “self” as a mediating variable between culture and individual behavior. The self can be construed, framed, or conceptualized in different ways. Markus and Kitayama (1991) delineated two general cultural self-schemata: interdependence and independence. These two images of self were originally conceptualized as reflecting the emphasis on connectedness and relations often found in non-Western cultures (interdependent self) and the separatedness and uniqueness ...

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