Multicultural Interview and Analysis

Topics: Culture of China, Han Chinese, Mao Zedong Pages: 11 (4288 words) Published: May 26, 2013
Multicultural Interview and Analysis

This paper intends to put the theoretical concepts learned in class into practice through an analysis of a ‘case study’ of an East Asian person, in order to demonstrate the extent of my understanding of how life experiences have shaped an individual’s thoughts and worldviews from an East Asian cultural context. The paper is organized into three sections, the first section introduces the interviewee’s demographic information and some additional comments on the format of the interview; followed by the second section – beginning with a short account of China’s modern history as essential background knowledge for a fuller in-depth understanding of the social conditions that the person grew up with, then proceeding to an autobiographical description of the person’s life starting from the times of their grandparents, their parents, moving on to the person himself from childhood to the present; and finally the third section will be a multicultural analysis where I will apply the cultural psychology concepts as major tools to help in understanding how the person’s life story relates to the values and worldviews they hold now, taking up major analytical themes concerning cultural dimensions and the self. This interview was conducted through email correspondence with my online pen-pal L, a 24-year-old Han Chinese male student, the second child in a family of four with his two parents and one elder sister, now living and studying in the city of Tianjin(天津), not far from the capital - Beijing or Peking in China. As side comments on the questions related to demographic information; first, he remarked that the question about ethnicity is often asked by the administration or else since China has 56 ethnic minority groups with the Han Chinese population comprising the biggest share at 85%, an inclusive and tolerant ethnicity that is described as ‘a blood-mixed floating population’, and since they are seen everywhere in plain areas the question would seem to make no sense from his perspective; secondly, on the question regarding family composition, he described himself as ‘extra born’ as his sister is the family’s first child in accordance with the One Child Policy relating to the long existing population problems then. L also made some comments regarding this interview, that since every view, point, feeling and so on, is more or less related with the growing experiences, sphere of knowledge, the held position one owns, a really meaningful exchange does not mean wholesale acceptance but rather sharing of different points and opinions, a point from his middle-school maths teacher who would often encourage students to question every 'standard answer' at that time, which I found particularly interesting. In addition, L structured his responses to the interview questions by dividing a person's mental spirits (natures, temper, characters...) into two main parts - 'the social parts' and 'the individual parts', which are respectively relevant (form and develop) to different issues and stories, and since the purpose of the paper is to focus on influence from the diverse cultural and ethnic context, his responses would focus more on the former as cooperation - i.e., ‘the common spirits’ over 'the individual parts' that naturally varies from one another. According to L, an account of any person’s life would be closely related to the whole history, geography, economy and so on at that time, so this section will begin with a general overview of China’s contemporary history (中国当代史) from 1949 until now, where L divides it into two periods: the Mao era (1949-1978, with Mao Zedong 毛泽东 in power), and the period of reform and opening-up (since 1978 under another leader – Deng Xiaoping 邓小平). In L’s opinion, although Chairman Mao guided the Chinese to establish a totally independent New China and the Chinese at that time used to think of him as God, L thinks that is not necessarily the case, because Chairman Mao made...
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