Ethnographic Encounter Thesis

Pages: 12 (3071 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian

Ethnographic Study of Chinese Women in America

The objective of this work is to investigate the problem of dealing with the Chinese females became much more complex after they settle in China Town in the United States. Despite the Chinese cultural women remain traditional the globalized American culture have many way to influence the social life of Chinese women in China Town. By exploring how globalization affects the role of traditional Chinese women in China Town. By exploring how globalization affects the role of the traditional Chinese women, interview with the Chinese female immigrants with different ages, level of education, and marital status will give different perspectives in this research. The project will conduct anthropological discussions on the relationship between the culture of the transnational Chinese women migration and the American culture in the globalized world.

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Thesis on Ethnographic Encounter Assignment

The Chinese and American culture is quite different from one another, indeed foreign from one another. Culture is described in the work of Zheng, and Cui entitled: "Kluckhohn and Strodbeck's Value Model in Chinese and American Culture" as "the holistic interrelationship of group's identity, beliefs, values, activities, rules, customs, communication patterns, and institutions." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) Culture is also described as "the total way of life of a people, composed of their learned and share behavior patterns, values, norms, and material objects." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) Culture is existent not only between different "nationalities and ethnic groups..." But as well among "communities, organizations and other systems." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) Culture is created by each different "population or group...that best fit their situation and they live in cultures like fish living in waters. Values, as one element of culture, involve what a culture regards as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, just or unjust, beautiful or ugly, clean or dirty, valuable or worthless, appropriate or inappropriate, and kind of cruel." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) Values are stated to "not necessarily describe behaviors in a culture, they provide explanations for what we do. They tend to be the basis of all the decisions we make and provide criteria for us to assess our own and others' actions. Therefore, values can be regarded as a hidden part of a culture if culture is liked to an iceberg. If we intend to know better about a culture, it is inevitable for us to go deep into it and study its values." (Zheng and Cui, 2008)


Kluckhohn and Strodbeck's value model in Chinese and American culture is related in the work of Zheng and Cui (2008). The generalizations that are made the most frequently are cited in the work of Zheng and Cui (2008) and are shown in the following labeled Figure 1 in this study.

Comparison of Chinese and American Values

Source: Zheng and Cui (2008)


It is additionally related by Zheng and Cui (2008) that while the traditional belief among Americans concerning human nature is that "humans are basically evil" influenced by traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, the Chinese are influenced by "the teachings of Confucius" and believe that human beings are "born pure and innocent." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) the Chinese believe that the nature of the human being is good and becomes corrupted through interactions and affects of society. Prevention of corruption involves parents and other key adults in the life of the child holding an obligation in setting good examples and in providing education.


Differences in belief on the level of society also exist between the Chinese and American cultures in that American social relationships "are constructed on the basis of autonomy of each person. They emphasize equality and evenness even though certain groups have been treated in discriminatory and unequal ways." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) the result of this belief is that all individuals have an opportunity to achieve high levels of success and status "regardless of their backgrounds..." Zheng and Cui, 2008 in contrast, Chinese culture is "identified and hierarchical." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) Therefore, in the Chinese culture the differences and social hierarchy are emphasized with "clearly defined privileges and obligations according to their positions." (Zheng and Cui, 2008) the sample stated is that the father is in charge of a family, while the son is expected to listen and obey him." (Zheng and Cui, 2008)


The Quince Orchard High School 'People Around the World' Bimonthly Faculty Newsletter published in May 2007 relates an interview with Chinese, Chinese-American and Taiwanese students and staff. The first question asked in this interview is 'How do you feel your culture is different from American culture?' The answers given include the following:

Chinese language has more than a hundred dialects and each dialect has different tones.

Chinese writing is not alphabetical and there are thousands of Chinese characters we use in our writing.

Family names always come before given names.

Our culture is very traditional and strict, whereas in the U.S., there is so much freedom.

We are in school longer, more hours.

We eat healthier food; it's more balanced.

Americans are very generous, for example, if your car breaks down on the side of the road, someone will stop to help you. In China, nobody would stop.

We seldom hug people; we don't usually touch people.

Most Chinese families do not allow their children to have a boyfriend or girlfriend when they are young and sometimes the parents choose their spouse for them.

There is much emphasis on the son who is the male linkage / continuation of the family name. (QO, 2007)

The second question asked is 'How do you feel your culture is similar to American culture?' Answers given include the following:

We share things. We offer our seats to seniors.

I think there is nothing similar with American culture.

Both cultures have family reunions on holidays.

The holidays are big and important.

There are a lot of the same values such as education, work ethic, sense of responsibility, etc.

In school, we get a summer and winter break.

A wear American style clothing and speak English. (QO, 2007)

The third interview question asks these individuals to name one tradition or cultural expectation that conflicts with American culture or school life. The answer given is as follows:

We often have a week off for Chinese New Year in our countries, but here we have to go to school.

During the Year of the Horse, I had to always wear red for good luck.

Americans do not respect older people, especially teachers.

Calling people older than you by their first names is considered disrespectful.

One would never open a gift in front of guests; this is rude.

We usually live with our parents, and if we don't, we visit them frequently.

We don't encourage our children dating until they are in college.

We don't encourage girls to wear make-up at young ages. (QO, 2007)


In another comparison of the Chinese and American cultures the difference is noted in terms of the American conception which is more focused on space than on place and stated specifically is that in American "People always walk towards windows once come into an American house in the country side. What a strange thing is that the first praise is about beautiful screen outdoors once come into the host's room. Moreover, the host would also glad for your appreciate to his insight. The horizon far away is not only the boundary of heaven and earth, but also the symbol of the future. American won't base on a certain place, no matter how beautiful there is. They will be attracted by expansive space stretching into the horizon, where their future is." (Bai, 2007)

In contrast, the traditional Chinese house is described as follows: "The court is usually surrounded by a long wall which has a group house behind. There may be a cabinet garden in the corner. It will be quiet and harmonious once you come into this private place. Architectures, corridors, rockeries and miniscapes are all arranged well. Without an expansive place, all things reflected in a court are only changes of each season. The unique broad scene is sky in vertical. Chinese are always base on own ground. When they ought to leave, that is not for another heaven of hope in the horizon, but for another world sublimed from their religion imagination." (Bai, 2007)

The Chinese are stated to retain a deep emotion concerning their connection to the land and do not treat wandering as "a kind of happiness." (Bai, 2007) in this interview, the individual states as follows: "Reminiscence repeated as the theme in Chinese poesies time and time again. American readers often surprised with Chinese nostalgia repeated in poesies frequently, even bored sometimes. To comprehend how deep this emotion is, we must know Chinese love stable and peaceful life as they suffer the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Ethnographic Encounter" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Ethnographic Encounter.  (2008, October 28).  Retrieved April 6, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Ethnographic Encounter."  28 October 2008.  Web.  6 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ethnographic Encounter."  October 28, 2008.  Accessed April 6, 2020.