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Volume 5 No. 1, January 2009





China Media Research, Volume 5 No. 1, January 2009

ChenShuang Liu & Eric Louw
Cultural Translation and Identity Performance: A Case of Chinese Business People in Australia

This study investigates the interdependency of economic, socio-cultural and individual aspects of the identity negotiation experience of Chinese business people in Brisbane, Australia. Findings from semi-structured interviews conducted with 30 Chinese business owners indicated that their ability to translate between cultures and their competency of performing identities according to situational variations played a critical role in sustaining their ethnic business. Many Chinese ethnic business people are successful not because they fully assimilate themselves into the mainstream culture, but in fact, their success resides in the ability to live across two cultures and translate between them. The implication for policy makers is to create a social environment where migrants feel free to translate between cultures, rather than feeling pressured to either ground themselves in ethnic enclaves or to assimilate into the mainstream culture.

Pi-Chun Chang
Globalized Chinese Cinema and Localized Western Theory

This study focuses on how Chinese scholars have taken concepts and notions from Western post-theories to criticize Chinese cinema that have gained international popularity and acceptance. These films are both criticized in China for catering to the foreign taste and praised in the West for their defiant spirit. The interpretative conflict, on the one hand, raises some interesting questions about cross-cultural politics of reception, and on the other, reveals a paradoxical correlation between global and local discourses. This study argues that the issues of cultural identity dominate readings of modern Chinese cinema, and the "Chineseness" of a piece of work, often matters more than filmmakers’ artistic achievements. The binary model for thinking about China/West interaction is inadequate because Chinese films are in fact situated in a zone of global/local interaction.

Yowei Kang & Kenneth C. C. Yang
Gay and Lesbian Blogs in China: Rhetoric of Reversed Silence in Cyberspace

The emergence of blog technology has created a less oppressive rhetorical borderland where marginalized voices can be spoken and heard. In this study, we examined the characteristics of blog technology and its function as a facilitator of reversed silence rhetoric among homosexual people in China. We conducted comparative textual analyses of blog posts selected from homosexual blogs and bloggers in China to examine rhetorical features of reversed silence rhetoric on blogs. Ramifications of blog technology to facilitate the emerging rhetorical practices are discussed.

Lu Zheng & Shuhua Zhou
Public Service vs. Marketability: BBC and CNN's Coverage of the Anti-Japanese Protests in China

This study examined how two philosophical approaches to news coverage - public service vs. commercialization - affected news content. The online coverage of China's anti-Japanese protests in April, 2005 by BBC and CNN were content analyzed. Categories were developed to look into distant/empathy frames, use of dramatic elements (dilemma, conflict, contrasts and hostility and compassion) and event/issues coverage. Results showed marked differences in content between BBC and CNN covering the same events. Implications were offered.

Yan Li
Criticism of Technical Rationality in Visual Communication: A Subject under Discussion from Mcluhan's Theory of "Cool Media"

A visual sign is a sign with a certain image, but not including writing (or Chinese characters). Visual communication can be divided into at least three phases: the phase in which images can be copied (drawn), the phase in which images are regarded as signs, and the phase in which images are recorded by diffusion technique.

McLuhan's division of cool and hot media probes into the interpreting conditions and experience, provided by the visual signs, which are controlled by technical elements. He emphasizes the technique's dominance over visual signs; which means with the intervention of technique, how visual signs change people's way of thinking and construct the unreal image world. This thinking induces such discussions as what technique does during the visual diffusion process and what the functions of technique are, whether the extensions of man are a part of technique or a part of nature and what the extensions mean to human beings.

This paper argues that the importance of visual communication not only lies in the visualization of signs but also in the mode of being visualized. This mode reconstructs the relationship between man and his outside world.

Marc Stanton
Multiculturalism and the Cultural Canon/Trope in Trans-Border Globalised Television

As ex-colonised subjects, the Chinese and the rest of Asia have allowed cultural canon contamination to continue. What is needed is the reclamation of cultural canon. The future canon of broadcasting is under threat. Broadcasting in Asia is in a transitional state and as such external Westernised forces can influence its canon. There exists the possibility for Western broadcasters to flood the market with cheap imports. Their sole intention is to capture the market before controlling it through its prices and the cultural canon. The intrinsic difficulty is that most broadcasting and cultural canon of the world is Western inspired.

Richard Harris
The Ideal Society: Values, Visions and Variations

One of the major impediments to the construction or development of a harmonious multicultural society is the fact that different cultures hold different values, giving them opposing ideas of what is possible or desirable. Often, the influence of such cultural value orientations may be unacknowledged by or imperceptible to those holding them, although their consequences in communication behaviours and interactions with other cultures may be profound. Since cultural values are expressed in the form of mythic narratives, secular and religious, an examination of the myths of a culture can yield valuable clues as to its vision of the ideal society. One of the most enduring, ubiquitous, and influential myths is that of paradise, and this paper examines six different categories of paradise myth, with examples from cultures across the world, showing how such myths shape peoples’ conceptions of the ideal society.

Meng-Yu Li
On the Traditional Chinese Notion of "Harmony": Resources to the Intercultural Communication

Intercultural communication is a field which concentrates on the study of the relationship between communication and culture. To create harmonious communication in relationships among people from diverse cultures is of vital importance to successful intercultural communication. While the traditional Chinese notion of "harmony" underscores the value of difference, reconciliation and creation, it can provide the field with new and illuminating resources.

YiHong Wang
An Analysis of the Harmonious Process in Intercultural Communication

This paper investigates the "construction of the harmonious communication" in an intercultural communication perspective by the doxa model, which analyzes the concepts of cultural capital, social capital, symbolic capital as intangible forms of capital, and the economic capital and natural capital as tangible forms of capital; and also the concepts of habitus, field, time, space, objective and subjective reflections. Based on early research of the triangulation method, we obtain the basic conceptual variables for the doxa model to analyze harmonious intercultural communication. Our study reveals that the analysis of these basic concepts and their relationships in a doxa can greatly help in understanding the harmonious process in intercultural communication; it exhibits that in case the harmonious communication is not achieved, conflicts may emerge

Liping Weng & Steve J. Kulich
Toward Developing a Master List of Value-Laden Chinese Proverbs and Sayings

Building on the social science tradition of values studies, this paper reports the first steps toward developing a comprehensive list of Chinese proverbs and sayings that are derived from both an etic value framework and key emic value orientations. Issues related to etic and emic studies are discussed, as well as the abstract and concrete aspects of values studies, and considerations are put forward that move beyond hierarchies of values to consider "thick" cultural values. Translation equivalence issues are also considered, and a methodological procedure is devised for developing cultural equivalence of values concepts to local sayings. One hundred and forty female English majors at a mid-sized national language university in Shanghai were asked to write down eight proverbs or sayings that guide their lives*. Each of Schwartz's 45 near-universal values was then translated into two Chinese sayings based on the pool. Other Chinese value statement sources were consulted to round out the list. Further sayings that reflect 15 key emic values derived from respondents’ saying preferences were also incorporated into the list. The paper puts forward a 60-item (120 Chinese saying) inventory. Theoretical implications for future values research and intercultural training are discussed.

Sandra M. Ketrow & Rachel L. DiCioccio
Family Interaction in Consequential or Crisis Decisions

Families are central to every culture. Many families experience episodes of family crisis or consequential situations which they must resolve. Extant research and theorizing about family communication is prolific, yet neglects this significant area, which has dramatic implications for families. This paper ventures the connectivity of culture, media, and group and family research to address this under-investigated phenomenon. The authors forward research that directs attention to family crisis decision-making, and elucidate a new direction for investigating family communication.

William J. Starosta and Guo-Ming Chen
Feeling Homesick at Home: A Dialogue

As we suggested in 2005, "centrisms" exist in historical space, rhetorical space, physical space, national space, postcolonial space, and in mental space. They are inscribed authentically, by those groups who have lived a cultural experience, or inauthentically, by those outside of the community. They reflect a more or less actual history, or they may represent idealized conceptions of how a community should or might be. Centrisms are always at some site of contestation. The avowal of an identity is met with charges of essentialism, and is regarded by some as a binary oversimplification. When viewed as a willing reinscription of identity that replaces what colonial and slave history may have undercut, though, Cote D’Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny’s words seem apt: "Better to be dominated by a friend than by an enemy." Our present dialogue questions the utility of centrisms in "a globalizing world."

Yoshitaka Miike
"Cherishing the Old to Know the New": A Bibliography of Asian Communication Studies

With the Confucian spirit of "cherishing the old to know the new," this bibliography lists 218 publications relevant to the development of Asian communication studies during the 1958-2009 period. The bibliography strives to cover journal articles, book chapters, and books on the intersection of culture and communication in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Asia. However, it does not include 232 items that were listed in Miike and Chen (2006). The present bibliography is compiled in the hope that these previous works will inspire scholars and students in Asia and elsewhere to undertake Asiacentric innovations in communication theory and research.

Jingjing Z. Edmondson
Testing the Waters at the Crossing of Post-modern, Post-American and Fu-Bian* Flows: On the Asiacentric School in International Communication Theories


Source: China Media Research