Pragmatic strategies and power relations in disagreement: Chinese culture in higher education
Harnish, Robert M.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation investigates pragmatic strategies and power relations related to disagreement in Mandarin Chinese using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, in which both statistic analyses of data from DCT and discourse analyses of data from ethnographic approach were conducted. The data were collected in the People's Republic of China at six universities in the north and the south of the nation as well as at a big conference. The total subjects for the DCT were 360, and the natural data were obtained from (1) surveys and interviews with a total of 45 participants, (2) 49 odd hours of recordings, and 86 valid oral discourses, both long and short. This study explores and answers three general questions. The first question is whether power relations in Chinese university settings influence pragmatic strategies in disagreement. A null hypothesis is rejected with statistic evidence. Further exploration of the ways in which the strategies are significantly different shows that the students use lower power-level strategies when disagreeing with the professors and administrators than vice versa. The students are addressed with highest level of all. However, the professors and administrators use more polite strategies to the students than the students to them. The statistic data also show no significant effect on the strategies by the two variables: gender and area. The second question asks what the pragmatic strategies in disagreement reflect regarding Chinese cultural dynamics in the higher education of contemporary China. The findings support the author's presumption that Confucianism may not still be the "guiding principle" of the norms and values in the university settings of modern China. A new cultural orientation of Chinese people is characterized with new features. The third probe of the question how the concept of relevance in Grice's CP dominates the analysis of communicative interactions involving power obtains an outcome in consistent with Kitis' "Global Relevance" as a Supermaxim of CP. Through Chinese discourse analyses, this study proves that the Maxim of Relevance of CP explicates conversational cooperation with the connection of the frame of discourse type and the social structure involving power, and the intention and comprehension of the implicature in conversations.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies