• Summary
  • Contents
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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.

Cognitive Consistency: A Cultural Assumption?
Cognitive consistency: A cultural assumption?

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

— Emerson (quoted in Bartlett, 2000)

I loathe inconstancy—I loathe, detest Abhor, condemn, abjure the mortal made Of such quicksilver clay that in his breast No permanent foundation can be laid;

— Byron, Don Juan, Canto ii, St. 209

The idea that people are motivated toward a resolution of cognitive inconsistencies has a long and respectable history in social psychology and communication. Although the tendency toward cognitive consistency is often described as a marker of human rationality and therefore might be expected to be widespread or even universal, a cultural perspective suggests that social psychological notions of consistency may be more or less culturally relative. Festinger (1957) contended that cognitive ...

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