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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Holmes, P. (2008). Foregrounding harmony: Chinese international students voices in communication with their New Zealand peers. China Media Research 4(4): 102-110.

Author(s) from Durham


Chinese students’ intercultural communication experiences in Western educational institutions have largely been examined through Eurocentric theoretical lenses, often resulting in misinterpretations of their verbal and nonverbal interactions. Instead, this paper provides new understandings of Chinese students’ intercultural experiences by adopting an \"Asiacentric\" approach which foregrounds harmony as an epistemological, religious, and axiological base for communication. In-depth interviews with 14 Chinese international and 10 New Zealand students indicated that Chinese students sought to maintain harmony in interpersonal relations, evidenced in facework, role recognition, the place of listening and silence, and managing group work interactions. The study outcomes have implications for future research on Chinese communication, as well as understandings of Chinese international students’ communication with their New Zealand counterparts in Western learning contexts.

School of Education