Discourse as Cultural Struggle

Discourse as Cultural Struggle

Edited by Shi-xu
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Discourse as Cultural Struggle
    Book Description:

    Discourse as Cultural Struggle challenges the cultural imbalance in current research traditions, and argues for a culturalist perspective in facilitating better intercultural exchange amidst accelerated processes of globalization. It is the first engagement with discourses in non-mainstream cultures. Covering a wide range of issues in public, professional, media and intercultural communication, the twelve original essays here tackle culturally pressing issues by aligning viewpoints from various geopolitical contexts. This is a thought-provoking book for scholars and researchers of language and communication studies who seek innovative approaches in their fields of interest.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-19-6
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Wimal Dissanayake

    Shi-xu’s edited volume, Discourse as Cultural Struggle, is a significant contribution to discourse studies. Many of the essays gathered in this volume address important issues that advance our thinking on discourse, power, and imperatives of culture. Shi-xu has a good and clear understanding of where discourse studies are currently at, and it is his intention to move beyond this place, to open up newer pathways of inquiry.

    The concept of discourse is pivotal to the entire endeavor of this book. This concept has had an interesting intellectual biography. It first emerged as a vital formulation in linguistics, where research focused...

  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Part I: Cultural Issues in Theory and Methodology
    • 1 Discourse Studies and Cultural Politics: An Introduction
      (pp. 3-16)

      In mainstream (critical) discourse analysis/studies, discourse is usually understood as a linguistic, meaningful activity that is different in kind from, though causally related to, context, the elements of which range from the person, the mind, the medium, the situation, to society and culture. Moreover, theory of discourse and approaches to it, which are largely of Western origin and orientation anyway, are presented as more or less universally applicable, implicitly or explicitly. So it may be observed that what practitioners mainly do is description or analysis of “discourse” or text or talk, and, to a much lesser extent, explanation in functional...

    • 2 Discourse and Cultural Transformation
      (pp. 17-28)
      Robert Maier

      Discourse is currently increasing in importance in the more global and multicultural world of today. Discourse is not only a representation of reality and of oneself; it is also a weapon and an action for influencing other players. Therefore, discourse is intimately related to power and identity. All the actors, be they nations, regions, international organizations, or cultural groups, use discourse to present themselves, to defend their interests, and to advance plans of action with or against other actors. However, the ongoing transformations of the world cannot be reduced to discourse. There are many non-discursive events and processes, such as...

    • 3 Agendas for Multicultural Discourse Research
      (pp. 29-46)
      Aydan Gülerce

      It may be useful, right at the outset, to point at the deliberate choice of the words in the title of this chapter and what they are expected to signify. Let us attend to each word briefly, in order to spell out the multiple goals and the ultimate aim of the chapter, set the scene for the discussion and engage in the main argument itself that they co-constitute.

      Despite the variability of the definitions of the concept of “discourse,” there can be no disagreement on the notion of “cultural struggle,” in any reading/writing, that the term always has a symbiotic...

  6. Part II: Cultural Struggles in Discourse
    • 4 Discursive Transition in Central and Eastern Europe
      (pp. 49-72)
      Norman Fairclough

      This chapter is an initial contribution to an area of research I am currently embarking on: the role of discourse in processes of “transition” (i.e., from socialism to capitalism and Western forms of democratic government) in central and eastern Europe (henceforth CEE). My particular focus here is on attempts in CEE, and specifically Romania, to construct a “knowledge-based economy” (KBE) and “information society” (IS). I begin with a brief sketch of the version of Critical Discourse Analysis (henceforth CDA), which I am currently working with. I then discuss discourse as an element in processes of “transition,” and the construction of...

    • 5 Cultural Value Change in Mainland China’s Commercial Discourse
      (pp. 73-90)
      Jieyun Wendy Feng and Doreen Wu

      In his book Sociology of the Global System, Sklair (1991) argued that the culture-ideology of consumerism is the key for the successful transition of Third-World countries to capitalist modernization. And he defined consumerism according to Wells (1972) as the increase in consumption of the material culture of the developed countries.

      Over the last two decades, China has undergone significant internal changes along with the external globalization movement. After Mao’s death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping adopted an “open door” policy to improve Chinese people’s living standard, and he initiated the change from a planned economy to a market economy and modernization,...

    • 6 A Chinese Christmas Story
      (pp. 91-104)
      Gary Sigley

      The object of this chapter is to tell a Chinese Christmas story. Christmas iconography in the shape of the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, reindeer, and tinsel is becoming increasingly visible in China, particularly in urban areas. Where once such displays were restricted to large hotels that catered to foreigners, and foreign student dormitories on Chinese university and college campuses, the iconography of Christmas has now found its way into department stores, restaurants, nightclubs, and even small “mom and pop” enterprises. Christmas has become an increasingly important commercial event in the cycles of consumption that now characterize China’s consumer economy. The...

    • 7 Western Representations of the Other
      (pp. 105-122)
      Qing Cao

      Historically, China has been a place of mystery to the Western mind. It is as remote as it is vast, ancient, alien, and fascinating. The tales of “Cathay” reached Europe as early as the seventh century, followed by generations of travelers such as Marco Polo and missionaries. During Western colonial expansion in the nineteenth century, China remained the last and largest country to resist being fully opened up, penetrated, and appropriated,¹ and as a result it was not politically, economically, and intellectually possessed by the West.² It remained, therefore, one of the least understood among ancient civilizations. Following World War...

    • 8 Western Politeness Theory and Non-Western Context
      (pp. 123-142)
      Jung-ran Park

      During the past few decades, linguistic politeness has drawn significant attention from Western and non-Western scholars. As indicated by its principal definitional characteristic as a so-called strategic device for reducing social friction by smoothening social interactions and by avoiding conflict during social encounters, linguistic politeness can be seen ultimately as a socio-cultural phenomenon. As such, it is encoded within linguistic systems through filtering of given social and cultural attributes. Such linguistic realization can be conspicuously observed in lexicon and conventionalized linguistic structures.

      In Asian languages, lexicalized and grammaticalized items that are filtered through socio-cultural attributes are rich in their lexicon....

    • 9 Discourse, Cultural Imperialism, Black Culture and Language Research in the United States
      (pp. 143-154)
      Garrett Albert Duncan

      In a 1979 New York Times Op-Ed piece, James Baldwin noted that the public outcry over a court decision that affirmed the importance of black language in the education of black children had little to do with language itself. Rather, he surmised, the chorus of disapproval had more to do with the role of language and the history it revealed about its speakers. For Baldwin, black language is the “creation of the black Diaspora.” It is the precipitate of an alchemical reaction that had transformed diverse linguistic elements into “the political instrument, means, and proof of power” that bears witness...

    • 10 The Discourse of Chinese Medicine and Westernization
      (pp. 155-176)
      Zongjie Wu and Qingxia Lü

      Traditional Chinese discourse is here defined as the language hitherto used for thousands of years in all spheres of traditional life in China: in education, and in social, political, and scientific institutions. As a result of the progress of the modernization of Chinese society starting from the early twentieth century, particularly the May Fourth Movement,¹ such a language has been gradually withdrawn from our social life. “Within less than one hundred years, the Chinese language absorbed, or indeed ‘devoured’, the nomenclatures of the most diverse branches of Western knowledge” (Lackner, Amelun, and Kurtz 2001, 2). Fundamental changes have taken place...

    • 11 Intercultural Communication and Conflict Resolution: Towards an Iranian Approach
      (pp. 177-186)
      Reza Najafbagy

      Many failures to international cooperation and conflict resolution seem to be related to communication problems and cultural differences. In other words, the establishment of realistic, proper, and effective communication, based on mutual cultural understanding and goodwill, would solve many national and international disputes. Such a subject becomes more acute and sensitive, and eventually more complicated, when a dispute of discussion arises among individuals or government representatives from the less and more developed nations, particularly among Western societies.

      What are the main conditions of communication between cultures, and what barriers stand in the way? Behind this issue lies the feeling and...

    • 12 Teaching Intercultural Communication in a Chinese Perspective
      (pp. 187-198)
      Shen Zhaohua

      In the year 1978, China began to open its doors to the outside world. China seeks contact with foreign countries at every level — cultural, economic and political — through language. More and more people find that successful contact with foreigners involves not only a person’s linguistic competence (Chomsky 1965) but also intercultural competence (Wiemann 1993; Buttjes and Byram 1990). Chinese students will live and work in an increasingly multicultural world in which they will need increasingly sophisticated cultural skills. So, the goal of intercultural competence for language teaching in China should focus on developing learners’ competence in the context of intercultural...

  7. [Index]
    (pp. 199-200)