A Study of Chinese Cultural Values and Chinese Identity through Cultural Fare Consumption
By Mei Zhong, Hongmei Shen and Li Gong
Mei Zhong, Hongmei Shen, and Li Gong note that cultural values have been studied in terms of such dimensions as context, power distance, or individualism vs. collectivism for many years now. China has been defined as a culture that is high context, has a large power distance, and is collectivistic. But over the past thirty years, China has undergone tremendous change due to economic reforms. The authors sought to find out if these economic changes also had an impact on Chinese identity; and if so, how.
Since most of the past identity scales are based on U.S. American’s self-identity, Zhong, Shen, and Gong feel that it is time to consider creating a Chinese identity scale based on self-identified values and behavioral preferences particularly though cultural fare consumption. In so doing, the authors point out that Westerners tend to identify themselves as independent selves while the Chinese see themselves as more of an interdependent self. Since the Chinese population is fairly homogenous, typical definitions of identity as applied in the USA focusing on ethnic and racial identification cannot be applied to Chinese identity, Zhong, Shen, and Gong argue. They, therefore, define identity as a multidimensional construct that includes issues of group membership, self-image, ethnic affiliation and larger cultural affiliation. Zhong, Shen, and Gong tried to isolate these values by asking questions about the respondents’ cultural fare consumption.
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