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ERIC Number: EJ1013173
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1470-8477
Dehistoricized Cultural Identity and Cultural Othering
Weiguo, Qu
Language and Intercultural Communication, v13 n2 p148-164 2013
The assumption that each culture has its own distinctive identity has been generally accepted in the discussion of cultural identities. Quite often identity formation is not perceived as a dynamic and interactive ongoing process that engages other cultures and involves change in its responses to different challenges at different times. I will contend in the paper that such a static and ahistorical approach to cultural identity and cultural differences is common in the intercultural communication context of English language learning, where native and non-native speakers each assume a set of definitive features serving to show their distinctiveness from each other. Intercultural communication, based on such putative differences, is thus reduced to a process of cultural othering, with non-native English speakers being othered as something non-essential or peripheral. I will demonstrate the point through a diachronic discussion of the Chinese and the English politeness norms relating to hospitality by reexamining the data from V. Chen's and R. Chen's studies, and comparing them with the travelogues by Rochefoucauld, Taine, and others. My claim is that it is not the alleged inherent attributes, but the external challenges a culture confronts at a time that determine the pattern of hospitality. With no intention to deny differences in discursive cultural identities, I will call for a more open-minded historical approach, crediting rather than discrediting changes and interactions. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A