【原创英语论文】 Understanding Value: A brief introduction and Summary

发布于 2021-04-20 06:37

Understanding Value:

A brief introduction and Summary

  

The Importance of Value

The thinking about values, as we all know, has been going on for a long time. ”Qf all the problems discussed or studied in intercultural communication research, value is one of the most important problems and deserves great attention.””Value plays a significant role in intercultural communication, which can be seen as the core of intercultural communication.”[1]

Hu Wenzhong(1999), a famous cultural scholar in China, has pointed out that values come from social 

life and provide criteria for behavior. “They prescribe which actions and ways of  being are better than Others;they are not descriptions of fact,but  possess  content and emotion and contribute to social reality.” [2]

Scholars have offered many versions of definitions for values. 

 

Definitions of Value

Kluckhohn(1951) pointed that a value is an explicit or implicit view of what is "worth it". It affects people's choice of behavior, means and ends.

Rokeach(1973) believed that value is a kind of lasting belief, a specific behavior mode or ultimate state of existence, and has motive function. It is not only evaluative, but also prescriptive and prohibitive. It is a guide to actions and attitudes. Values are rules for making choices and resolving conflicts.

G.Hofstede&G.J.Hofstede(2004) simplely generalized that value means a general tendency to favor one state of affairs over another. It could expanded that values are a series of shared views about truth and false, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness in a culture. From these points of view, we can generalize the cultural pattern of a culture. These ideas guide people's activities in both natural and social environments.

In addition, some other definitions adhered here can provided reference value:

Albert(1968) held that value system reflects what is expected, what must be done, and what is forbidden. Value system is not a report of specific behavior, but a standard system to judge constrained behavior.

Nanda&Warm(1998) insisted that values are shared ideas about what is true, good, and beautiful. They are the basis of cultural patterns and guide people in dealing with natural and social environments.

 

Basic Functions of Value

Rokeach divided values into instrumental values and ultimate values.

Ultimate value, means values about the ultimate goals of life, survival, etc. Such as a comfortable life, an exciting life, a sense of accomplishment, a peaceful world, equality, family security, freedom, happiness, inner harmony, mature love, national security, enjoyment, redemption, self-esteem, social identity, true friendship, wisdom, the world of beauty.

Instrumental value,means values about moral competence.Such as ambitiousness, openness, capable, happiness, clean, brave, tolerance, helpfulness, honesty, imagination, independence, rationality, logicalness, loving, obedience, courteousness, responsibility, self-controll.

 

Characteristics of Value

Values belong to the deep culture.

Values are a guide to how people should behave.

Values are both stable and changing.

The values of different cultures have both the same and different elements.

When values are violated, they cause strong emotional reactions.

 

An introduction to other theories

The theoretical research on values is fruitful.Such as Kluckhohn and Strodtbecks Value Orientations; Hofstede's dimensions of cultural values, Hall's theory of high-context culture and low-context culture;  Brown and Levinsons Face Theory, and Schwartzs value types .

(1) Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s Value Orientations

Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck are American anthropologists.Their value orientation theory is the most classical theory of values.In the classic work Variations in Value Orientations, they singled out five universal problems faced by all human societies after examining hundreds of cultures in the 1930s.

The main ideas are as follows:

What is the nature of human nature?Its the human nature orientation, which means Mixture of Good and Evil vs. Basically Good.

What is the relationship between humanity and its natural environment? Its the man-nature orientation, which means Mastery over Nature vs. Harmony with Nature.

On what aspect of time should we primarily focus? Its the time orientation, which means Past Orientation vs. Future Orientation.

What is the prime motivation for behavior? Its the activity orientation, which means Being Who You are vs. Doing What You are Doing.

How should individuals relate with the others?Its the social relationships orientation, which means Individual vs. Hierarchy.

 

(2) Hofstede's Dimensions of Cultural Values

The Dutch scholar Geert Hofstede identified five value dimensions in the 1980s.

Cultural dimension is an effective framework used by Hofstede to measure cultural differences and value orientations of different countries. He divided cultural value orientation into five dimensions, namely power distance, individualism/collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, and long-term/short-term orientation. He believes that members of different countries or ethnic groups have different cultural value orientations.

 

 

(3) Halls High-context and Low-context Dimension

    High-context culture and low-context culture were first proposed by Edward Hall in his book Beyond Culture in 1976. In Hall's definition, "context" refers to "all information related to an event that has a significant impact on its meaning".High context and low context refer to the degree to which the expression of meaning in communication depends on context.

In high context communication, a large amount of information is contained in the context, and only a small amount of information is clearly conveyed through the code. In low context communication, on the contrary, information is mainly conveyed clearly through the code.

 

(4) Brown and Levinsons Face Theory

Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson are anthropologists and linguists at the University of Cambridge in England. In 1978, they published an article and raised the issue of "face" based on Politeness phenomenon.The main ideas are as follows:

Face is the public self-image that everyone wants to achieve for themselves. Face is also the product of emotional investment. Generally speaking, people will cooperate with each other in communication to protect face.

 

(5) Schwartz’s Value Types:

Shalom H.Schwartz et al. (1992,1994,1995) compiled the "Schwartz Values Survey" (SVS), trying to depict a worldwide Geography of Values and mapping cultural groups in their relative positions. His research includes 57 values, 10 universal motivational types of values representing 4 dimensions, such as self-transcendence, self-improvement, conservatism and openness to change, and reveals the structural relationship among them.

Schwartz’s value types mainly includes power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, security, benevolence, tradition and conformity.

 

Conclusion

What are values? Values are not actual behavior, but rules about behavior.

Values are an explicit or implicit idea of what is desirable that is unique to an individual or a group, which affects people's choice among various existing modes of action, means and purposes. Values are usually prescriptive, telling people what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is positive and negative, etc.

Values are not individual preferences or tendencies, but a collective cultural consciousness.Among the cultural backgrounds that influence intercultural communication, the most important cultural factors are values. Every culture has its own unique system, and values are its core and the deep structure of cultural characteristics.

Values make people understand what is worth guarding, what should be learned, what should be laughed at, for what things people should be united. From these points of view, we can generalize the cultural pattern of a culture. These ideas guide people's activities in both natural and social environment.

 

 

Works Cited

 

[1] 房玉靖,姚颖. 跨文化交际实训(第二版)[M]. 北京:对外经济贸易大学出版社,2014.

[2] 《文化、跨文化交际、文化价值观的定义》

<https://wenku.baidu.com/view/33d3da60f5335a8103d22006.html>