Abstracts

Issue 47, July 2018

Viv Edwards & Dr Ye

A sociological exploration of the impact of study abroad on international PhD students’ self-identity

This paper explores the impact of study abroad on the self-identity of Chinese doctoral students in the UK, with an emphasis on students’ agency and identity through the lens of Giddens’ (1991) reflexive project of the self’. Qualitative data comprising student perceptions and experiences of personal changes and development during their study abroad were collected through focus groups and semi-structured interviews involving 11 participants. Three inter-related themes emerged from thematic analysis: how the students constructed narratives which helped them to actively negotiate new sociocultural and academic fields; their growth in independence; and the perceived changes that took place in values and worldview. The findings demonstrate that study abroad provides students with an opportunity for self-transformation and identity expansion.

Keywords: Identity, Chinese students, Intercultural Communication, International Education, Giddens Project of the Reflexive Self


Manachai Inkaew

Hegemonism in Thai Country Music - A Lesson-Learned Implication in Intercultural Communication

This paper investigated Thailand's “hegemonism” towards its neighbors implicitly penned in two famous long-lasting Thai country songs composed in the 1980s. “Siam Muang Yim” or “Siam, the Land of Smiles” and “Sao Song Muang” or “Ladies of the Two Nations” were examined and analyzed mainly through the lens of discourse analysis by Van Dijk (2004). The findings indicated a strong formation of Thai national identity with a sense of habitual inferiorization perception towards the neighboring countries. The revealed outcome may trigger intercultural awareness through a realization of the existing hegemonic practices and attitudes. Lessons learned from ruinous past events may be able to enrich a peaceful and harmonious living among people in the region.

Keywords: Hegemonism, Discourse analysis, Inferiorization, Thai country songs


Jung-Soo Yi

Revisiting Individualism-Collectivism - A Cross-Cultural Comparison among College Students in Four Countries

The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity, fruitfulness, and constructive potential of Individualism-collectivism dimension in the contemporary world. With increasing interrelationship among countries and improvement of technologies and transportations, value differences among cultures might not be as significant as what people thought before. A questionnaire was constructed, tested, and distributed to 2,000 college students in South Korea, Japan, Canada, and the United States. Among the 1,547 questionnaires returned, 1,495 were included in the analysis. Although differences in cultural values still exist among college students in all four countries, the findings of the present study indicate meaningful implications on cultural changes in the modern world. To draw more accurate guidelines on cultural tendencies, the present study suggests that further investigations should explore other factors such as age, occupations, education, degrees of contact with people in other cultures, and use of technologies and media.

Keywords: Individualism, Collectivism, Comparison, South Korea, Japan, Canada, The United States


Pilar Medina-Bravo, Miquel Rodrigo-Alsina and Frederic Guerrero-Solé

Audience Contradictions in the Negotiation of Controversial Cultural Media Content - The Case of Muslim Women Journalists in Niqab

This paper analyses how people negotiate representations of other cultures in the media, in particular those traits that can be considered controversial in the sense of generating strong opinions and opposing stances. A news story about an Egyptian television channel run by Egyptian women journalists wearing the niqab (Maria TV) was used to stimulate debate in four focus groups. Although most of the participants initially criticized the approach adopted by the television channel, they also expressed opinions on journalists in niqab that agreed with the representation proposed by the channel. The article shows that even though audiences may seem capable of criticizing media biases, they do not recognize their own internalized prejudices and, ultimately, accept the discourse proposed by media.

Keywords: Islamophobia, Audience, Interpretation, Spain, Television, Media


Laura Motel and Brittnie Peck

SexIER Symbols - Examining the Effects of a Content Analysis of Gendered Visual Imagery in Cross Cultural Road Signs

The symbols and images projected through mass media shape and constrain an individual’s understanding of and interaction with their environment. Across cultures, road signs employ seemingly universal, generic, human symbols. Cross-cultural variance does occur, however, in the degree to which such icons include characteristically masculine, feminine, and gender neutral features. This investigation, a full scale study of an earlier pilot, proposes the human symbol communicates culturally-relevant information. Specifically, this study consists of a content analysis, further refinement of a fluid visual gender scale, and correlation with social effects using a semiotic, social cognitive, and code theory theoretical framework.

Keywords: Intercultural, Gender, Content Analysis, Nonverbal, Visual, Communication


Abdul Qahar Sarwari, Mohammad Nubli Wahab, Mohammad Hilmi Mat Said & Noor Ashikin Abdul Aziz

Assessment of the Characteristics of Interpersonal Communication Competence among Postgraduate Students from Different Cultures

This study was carried out to assess the characteristics of interpersonal communication competence among postgraduate students from different cultures at a Malaysian public university. This study applied the mixed methods research design with the participation of 130 postgraduate students from 18 different countries. The Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire (ICQ) was used as the main instrument of this study. Based on the results from this study, their interactions with their peers from different cultures helped the participants to improve the contact initiation, disclosure and conflict management skills of their interpersonal communication competence and gain some new personal and cultural skills and information. However, the participants were struggling to learn how to manage probable conflicts during their interactions with their peers from different cultures. The results from this study illustrate that the level of education variable affect interactions among individuals from different cultures in the Asian context of communication.

Keywords: Intercultural Communication; Interpersonal Communication Competence; Asian Context of Communication


Tingting Shen & Stephen M Croucher

A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Teacher Confirmation and Student Motivation in China, Korea, and Japan

Today’s EFL students need both advanced language skills and an appreciation of other cultures. Technology for language learning, however, is usually focused on language skills. Cultural understanding is rarely a primary goal. Intercultural competence was the primary goal of this study, using a technically-mediated and culturally-oriented online learning community to cultivate intercultural competence using social collaboration, understanding, reflection, and appreciation. Students in South Africa and Taiwan reacted to videos on cultural topics made by American college students. Qualitative data analysis included the social media discussions of the participants, end-of-study questions, and teacher-participant journals. Six themes in the data are presented, as well as resulting best practices for instructional design and specific author recommendations.

Keywords: EIL, language learning, computer assisted language learning, cross-cultural, intercultural, social media


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