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ERIC Number: EJ918912
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 46
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
Group Face in Korea and the United States: Taking Responsibility for the Individual and the Group
Hahn, Jee-Won; Hatfield, Hunter
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v30 n1 p25-70 Mar 2011
Brown and Levinson's ([1978] Politeness: Some universals in language use, Cambridge University Press, 1987) politeness theory has been criticized as being ethnocentric by displaying a Western preoccupation with autonomy and individualism. Many non-western societies, it is argued, are better understood by appealing to cultural discernment or group face. Whether or not this is a fair criticism of Brown and Levinson, is it a fair understanding of Western politeness notions? This paper examines how people manage the face of a third party, one who is neither the speaker nor the hearer, in interactions through apology behavior in Korea and the United States. A Discourse Completion Task containing 6 situations was given to 163 participants. In each situation, a family member of the speaker commits a possible offense to another individual. If the speaker apologizes to that individual, it is taken as evidence that the speaker takes responsibility and feels regret for an action they themselves did not commit. A mixed-effects regression analysis was used to examine the factors of (1) the participant's country, (2) the participant's gender, (3) the relation's gender, (4) the intimacy of the situation, and (5) the presence of the speaker during the offense. Contrary to the typical collectivist/individualist distinction, both Koreans and Americans apologized, overall, in similar situations. The speaker's presence was the overriding factor predicting the chance of an apology. The factors did operate in different patterns within each nation, however. Rather than a simple collectivist/individualist distinction, both the qualitative and quantitative results suggest that people in both societies attempt to manage the face of groups to which they belong, though there are indeed differences concerning the specific situations and responsible players.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea; United States