Chinese Communication Studies: Contexts and Comparisons

Chinese Communication Studies: Contexts and Comparisons

Chinese Communication Studies: Contexts and Comparisons

Chinese Communication Studies: Contexts and Comparisons


Many varying factors contribute to the dynamics of Chinese communication, which both resembles and differs from its Western counterparts. In this provocative new collection of essays, an international group of scholars challenges the conventional notion of Chinese culture as static, recognizing the causes of cultural change and strategies of resistance. Examining communication contexts in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and comparing them to those of the United States and Europe, Chinese Communication Studies: Context and Comparisons considers the relationship between culture and communication in Chinese political, gender, family, and media contexts, providing the reader with insight both into how enduring Chinese cultural values are, and how they are being appropriated to meet political and economic goals.


Ling Chen

Ever since the “Liberation” of the 1949 revolution that gave birth to the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese have been exhorted to carry it on. In place of military conflicts, revolution has since taken the form of political campaigns, known as yundong (movement). The decades following the Liberation have seen so many political movements that a term appeared, yundongyuan, referring to those who frequently became targets of campaigns. How have the Chinese made sense of all this and understood what the government has explained to them throughout the years? This chapter presents a cultural members’ view of social-political development in the PRC from popular writings. The aim is not to explain specific events, but rather to understand the symbolic interaction between the cultural mindset and social circumstances. New insights may come from the viewpoint of ordinary Chinese, whose collective unconscious inclination is the ultimate determinant of a particular development of social-political events in China. Whereas it is shaped by sociocultural conditions, “Cultural memory has the ability to transform the new into something malleable enough to enable old ways of doing to still operate. These old ways of doing, in turn, end up reinforcing commitments to far more traditional ways of seeing, and it is these that fuel the daily routines of life” (Dutton, 1998, p. 42).


A colleague curious about Chinese culture once asked me, “Is Confucianism the foundation of Chinese culture?” The question is innocent enough, but there

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