Body-language and nonverbal communication

Bound to familism

Bound to familism

We all, in the West and the East, live in families. We are brouhgt up by parents. This family life gives us the chance to develop ourseves as human being: To find our identity, to be regarded as a specific personality and to become part of social life.

And yet there are big differences. Differences which …………………….makes us culturally quite different. Familism in China for example is part of a so called” high-context-culture”. The aspect or the word “individuation” there is rarely to be found. People are highly dependent on each other and pay attention a lot to take care for the other members of the family.

Insofar family embodies culture.

And being brought up in such a context characterizes the personality and the body of course, and the nonverbal communication.

If I am informed well ( concerning the Heidelberg Congress 2011) the word”lia” symbolizes this very good. It stands for differnet expressions of such social units like: family, home, housekeeping, expert in a certain area, being part of a certain company, school and so on.

Fei Xiaotong said 1947 that the word “family” is the most elastic word in the Chinese language. This gives the impression, that family stands for “life” and life is “everywhere”. We meet it everywhere in our live.

“Family in China is an enterprize-organisation . It´s scale is dependent on the scale of the enterprize……..No matter how great the scale varies, the structural principle is the same – an art of difference-sequence patterns..”

In contrast to that, to make it short, we in the West live in nuclear families, broken families, patchwork families andsoon. This of course supperts a process of indiduation.

What happens I ask myself when Chinese and Germans for example meet, join the same group, live together or start a relationship, even love relationship.



1 comment
  1. You Wu says: 08.06.201210:46

    Drawing from my own ethnic background as a Chinese, working and living in the western culture for a significant amount of time, what I can state at this moment is that all my past experiences formed a personal journey of ” non-stop identity Lost & Found” circle.

    I had once introduced a German (considered him as the love of my life) to my entire family. Here, entire family means not only my parents, but also my grandparents, other relatives and close family friends. And I suspect, this particular German, he had never been able to estimate the impact he created to my whole family after we failed the relationship. For him, I wonder it was just a failed relationship between a woman and man. But for me, it was a life-changing activity that reshaped my life and the life of my beloved Chinese family.

    An immediate realization was “The individuals form the Western society; the families form the China society.” Although China grows and changes rapidly, I personally still believe that the “family” — at least the direct family (Parents & Children – two generations) are the basic functioning units in the current Chinese society.

    Being able to meet all “Chinese” from different ethnic background such as Malaysia Chinese, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Maocao Chinese or China mainland Chinese overseas, it was fascinating for me to see that, wherever I go, the Chinese family culture dominates the behavior, relationship development and social structure in every local Chinese community.

    The Chinese Familism is far more powerful and influential in every aspect than I could have imagined.

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