Communication and Culture Essay

Communication and Culture Essay

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Scholars from the indigenous psychology and philosophy field noted that explanations of the differences between the East and West, such as individualism/collectivism, have relied most exclusively on theoretical constructs generated in Western cultural contexts (Cheng, 1987; Cushman & Kincaid, 1987; Peng, Spencer-Rodgers, & Nian, 2006). Peng and his colleagues argued that indigenous concepts need to be introduced into the mainstream study, and the cultural differences between Western and Eastern people in the domains of thinking and reasoning can be attributed to differences between Western and Eastern folk epistemologies (Peng et al., 2006). Moreover, communication theory can be explored from both Western and Eastern perspectives by bringing in philosophical thoughts (Cushman & Kincaid, 1987). With its rich background and insights into human nature and human understanding, philosophy can make contributions to contemporary communication theory by recognizing the crucial necessity of the human context for communication (Cushman & Kincaid, 1987). Cheng (1987) noted that by bringing in philosophical perspective, the way of communication can be understood in a much broader sense. For instance, when comparing the differences between the West and China, scholars pointed out that while Chinese thinking and reasoning are mainly guided by folk version of Taoism and Ch’an Buddhism, Western thinking and reasoning are mostly Aristotelian in spirit (Cheng, 1987; Peng et al., 2006).
The theoretical foundation of Taoism belief is the idea that two opposites are mutually dependent on each other (Peng et al., 2006). This mutual dependence can be found between form and substance, between knowledge and action, and between symbol and e...


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...ive emphasizes selflessness and submission to central authority as the institutional means for achieving unity and harmony between man, and nature and this is the principle goal for communication. In contrast, the Western perspective emphasizes self-cultivation and the subjugation of human and natural resources to individual control as the central means for achieving individual and group goal attainment. According to the Eastern perspective, an individual's participation in a collective institutional structure motivates human action and human communication, therefore, serves for the need of participation (Cushman & Kincaid, 2006). According the Western perspective, an individual's desire for political, social, and economic self-realization actuates human action and human communication, therefore, serves for the need of self-realization (Cushman & Kincaid, 2006).

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