Oriental mysteries, Occidental dreams? Perception, experience and cultural reinterpretation in contemporary cross-cultural contexts - A comparative analysis between China and the West

Li, Yue (2014) Oriental mysteries, Occidental dreams? Perception, experience and cultural reinterpretation in contemporary cross-cultural contexts - A comparative analysis between China and the West. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This study is a qualitative analysis of direct cultural encounters between China and the West. It examines the subjective experiences of Chinese students in Britain and Western expatriate teachers in China from their own viewpoints – how they understood and interpreted different cultures and made sense of similarities and differences between one another, that is, how they experienced cultural translation. It employs focus group and individual interviewing methods. This study adopts an analytical framework of a before-during-after logic to answer three questions: 1) why did participants come to the host country and what did they think of it before arrival? 2) how did they relate to the host environment and make sense of differences? and 3) how these direct cross-cultural experiences influenced them as well as the wider context of cultural relations between China and the West? It presents the historical background of cultural and educational exchange between China and the West and identifies motives of participants coming to the host country under the current context of global cultural flows. Furthermore, it highlights factors that differentiated the subjective experiences of participants, such as gender, duration of time spent in the host country, relationships with local people and the subjects of study. The effects of participants’ experiences in the host country also varied according to these factors. What underpins the relationship between China and the West in terms of cultural and educational contacts, presented by Chinese students in Britain and Western expatriate teachers in China, is fundamentally an interplay between economic and cultural factors. Differences between China and the West are as much cultural as institutional. This study provides a detailed account of such differences. It discusses what aspects of Western cultural values have a strong influence on China and which traditional Chinese values still hold their importance during direct cultural encounters with the West. It reveals the internal struggle, caused by cultural differences and institutional limitations, amongst both Chinese students in Britain and Western expatriate teachers in China, but it also highlights the ways in which some differences have been exaggerated during direct cross-cultural encounters as well as the profound social and cultural similarities shared by China and the West, which tend to be overlooked.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: cultural translation, cross-cultural experience, educational contact, Chinese student, Western expatriate teacher
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Philo, Prof. Gregory and Bourque, Dr. Nicole
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Mr. Yue Li
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5068
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 10:13
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 10:28
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5068

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