Ethical Intercultural Communication between the Western World and China

Sha Ha


Culture is the cumulative deposit of knowledge, traditions, beliefs acquired by a human community in the course of generations: ethics is one of the most important of such beliefs. As for the intercultural communication, the discipline which studies a cultural dialogue about various issues across different communities, since the eighties of the last century it has been the object of various theories, based on experimental data collections: among them the ‘Values Orientation Theory’ by F.R. Kluckhohn and F. Strodtbeck, the ‘Cultural Dimensions Theory’ by G. Hofstede and the ‘Theory of Basic Values’ by S.H. Schwartz. One of the goals of this paper is to give a closer look at those theories. In the same period of time an ‘ethical turn’ manifested itself in western literary studies, after a long period of post-modernist disengagement, by initiative of J. Gardner, M. C. Nussbaum and J. Habermas, among others: the same happened in China in the eve of the new millennium, owing to the studies on comparative literature by Nie Zhenzhao. Literary works constitute an important vehicle of ethical intercultural communication. A second goal of the present paper is that of suggesting a ‘constructivist approach’ in the cultural dialogue between the western world and China, combining the results of those theoretical models with a comparative analysis of literary works chosen ad hoc, as recently done by Xu Zhilin in her comparative study of female images in ‘A leaf in the storm’, by Lin Yutang, and ‘Gone with the wind’, by Margareth Mitchell, from the perspective of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Theory. 


Ethical Intercultural Communication, Ethical Literary Criticism, Values Orientation Theory, Cultural Dimension Theory, Theory of Basic Values

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