Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Individual- and Social-Oriented Chinese Bicultural Self: A Subcultural Analysis Contrasting Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Individual- and Social-Oriented Chinese Bicultural Self: A Subcultural Analysis Contrasting Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese

Article excerpt

The previously proposed and tested bicultural self theory (Lu, 2007a; Lu & Yang, 2006) was further extended to mainland Chinese in the People's Republic of China, and potential subcultural differences across the Chinese strait were explored. Results indicated that mainland Chinese generally endorsed various aspects of the individual-oriented self more strongly, but the two groups across the strait were not different in their overall endorsement of the social-oriented self. As social orientation is rooted in traditional Chinese conceptualization of the self and the individual orientation is brought in with modern Western influences, this pattern of differentiation was understood in the context of both common heritage and differing phases of societal modernization in mainland China and Taiwan. In addition, a brief version (24 items) of the "Individual- and Social-oriented Self" scale (ISS; Lu, 2007a, 2007b) was successfully constructed, and its reliability and validity mirrored its original full version of 40 items.

Keywords: Chinese bicultural self, individual orientation, social orientation, PRC, Taiwan.

Against the greater socioeconomic background of globalization, Lu and Yang (2006) have recently proposed a model of "Chinese bicultural self". Specifically, they observed that (1) the traditional (social-oriented) Chinese self differs from the modern (individual-oriented) Chinese self, and (2) as a result of modernization, the modern Chinese self becomes more widely distributed in contemporary Chinese societies, and both traditional and modern self are now available to most Chinese. Lu (2007a) later systematically and comprehensively delineated the main contents of the individual-oriented and social-oriented self, and developed and conducted initial validation of the "Individual- and Socialoriented Self' (ISS) scale. Lu (in press) further designed a series of studies to relate the bicultural self model to some of the important issues in the field of self. In that research, the ISS was found to have convergent and divergent validity across cultural individualism/collectivism and independent/interdependent self. The bicultural self model was also found to impact upon basic psychological processes such as motivation, cognition, emotion, and well-being. Thus far, the basic tenets of the bicultural self theory have been proposed, its primary elements can be reliably and validly measured using the ISS, and its value for studying contemporary issues in the field of social and personality psychology has been established. For details of the theory, development of the ISS, its items, reliability, construct and incremental validity, please refer to published literature (Lu, 2007a, b, in press).

The bicultural self model was initially formulated against the greater social context of ongoing modernization in the non-West world, specifically, drawing upon the common cultural heritage of the Chinese tradition and its inevitable encounter with the expanding Western culture. As such, the theory and ISS should be relevant to all cultural Chinese living in major Chinese societies. However, so far work done on the bicultural self model has been restricted to one Chinese group: the Taiwanese. It is imperative to extend the research effort to include the largest population of Chinese on earth: the mainland Chinese in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Such an effort will be advantageous in firmly establishing the utility of the bicultural self model to the entire Chinese population. Furthermore, contrasting mainland Chinese against Taiwanese will amount to a finer grained subcultural analysis, as these two regions possess different political, economic, social, and historical institutions.

As defined by Lu (2007a, in press), social-oriented self involves the conception of oneself as a connected, fluid, flexible, committed being who is bound to others. In addition, morality and self-cultivation are also central to the traditional Chinese self. …

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