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Communication Studies


Searching for paradigms to help examine and understand human communication behavior requires constant effort for communication theorists. Probing and identifying the part of the communication process is helpful in understanding the ways groups of people interact. But in doing so, theorists may overlook components of the process within a group that are pertinent to its diversity. This oversight occurs when explaining Chinese communication practices.

Asante (1980) contends human communication can be divided into three cultural divisions-Afrocentric, Asiacentric, and Eurocentric--each with its own set of paradigms to guide students, scholars, and practitioners in the study of communication. However, most theories of communication tend to have a Eurocentric bias. Miike (2002, 2003, 2004) believes an Asiacentric emphasis would overcome that Eurocentric bias when studying Asian communication practices and offer a more accurate interpretation.

Miike (2003) maintains the Asiacentric view incorporates three assumptions: ontologically, an Asiacentric paradigm dictates that the myriad of people are interrelated across time and space; epistemologically, the myriad of people can become meaningful only in relation to others; and axiologically, the myriad of people can survive only in a web of harmonious relationships.

Chen and Starosta (2003) echoes Miike's (2003) explication and add that methodologically, an Asiacentric view indicates that human communication is a transforming process revolving in an endless nonlinear cycle. They add further that telelogically Asiacentric communication tends to adopt the notion of"the way things are," a course of action to which people must adjust their daily interaction .

The Asiacentric approach provides a highly abstract picture of the Asian people and offers a convenient way to understand Asian communication practices, stressing the uniqueness of Asian communication as contrasted to the other divisions. Yet Asiacentrism tends to oversimplify and overgeneralize the communication behaviors of the Asian peoples "who are so different culturally, socially, religiously, and economically" (Chen & Starosta, 2003, p. 1 ). Asiacentrism neglects the internal diversity within Asia.

This paper attempts to explore the internal diversity of Chinese culture so often overlooked in the process of research. Specifically, this paper examines the way Chinese communicate from the behavioral level and, in doing so, shows the real face of Chinese communication often absent in the paradigm used to guide the research.

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