Ethnographic Interview: Taiwan Culture Experience
Taiwan Culture Experience
Clark Atlanta University
Communication Cultural Diversity,
March 14, 2011
Culture is defined as the traditions, customs, norms, beliefs, values and thought patterning passed down from generation to generation (Jandt 2010). The world consists of many different cultures. In this Ethnographic Interview, I was given the opportunity to explore and learn more about a culture different from my own. Through observation I’ve have seen how people of different cultures differ from mines. For example, the type of foods a person eats can sometimes help you to identify their culture. I interviewed fellow classmate of mines, Ting Yan Yang, who was born in Taiwan. Before I initially interviewed my informant I researched the culture of Taiwan. I expected to learn a lot more about the Taiwan culture through my research and interview, because prior to this assignment I knew nothing about the culture. However, I did have my preconception that in some way the Taiwan culture would be connected to the Chinese culture. This preconception was formed based upon my informer’s physical appearance. After research, my preconception proved to be fact. Taiwan’s population is mostly Han Chinese who was born on the mainland or have ancestors that were (Peggy 2009). My research overall gave me a very descriptive background of the Taiwan culture. The culture was described so vividly I could in some ways just picture it. Their value systems in some ways were similar to my own, so I could relate in a lot of ways. Most people in Taiwan have traditional values based on Confucian ethics; however, pressures from industrialization are now challenging these values. Still, some traditional values remain strong, including piety toward parents, ancestor worship, a strong emphasis on education and work, and the importance of "face." (Ming-teh 2006). INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE
Before conducting this interview it was required to choose someone of a different culture from my own, and who has not been here for more than 10 years. Immediately one of my 3
classmates came to mind whom I felt I had socially interacted well enough to ask for a favor. I told him that this was a class assignment and describe his role in aiding me to complete it. I asked him how long he had been in America and he told me 8 years. He without hesitation agreed to be my informer. We sat up a date and time that which was suitable for the both of us. I offered to buy lunch at a local sushi restaurant, Chin Chin II, to compensate his time. Chin Chin II served the popular dish sushi, and from research I learned sushi was apart of the Taiwan culture. Sashimi (raw fish) and sushi are very popular in Taiwan (Ming-teh 2006).On the date of the interview I brought only a pad and pen with me. We choose a Saturday to meet up in the afternoon, 2pm to be precise. Before meeting, I previously drafted a couple of main questions I wanted to address. Although, some questions were created as the interview took place. I avoided any questions of ethnocentrism, judgments towards his actions and ways of thinking, and overly too personal. I was truly convinced any questions of these natures could not in any way give me a true definition of the Taiwan culture. I wanted my informer to feel free to describe his culture, his way, without restrictions.
I arrived to the restaurant before my informer. I felt it was respectful for me to initially be there before him which could alter him waiting on me to arrive. When he arrived he greeted me with a handshake and a smile. In the Taiwan culture greetings are formal, and handshakes are the most common form of greeting (Williams 2007). Before conducting the research we ordered our food. He ordered a sushi...
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