An Analysis of American – Chinese Movie ‘Saving Face” by Using Face Negotiation Theory

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An analysis of American – Chinese movie ‘Saving face” by using Face Negotiation Theory

Table of contents Face Negotiation Theory 2 An application of face-negotiation theory in the movie “Saving face” (2004) 3 Advantages and disadvantages of face theory 6 Conclusion 7 References 8

The term “face-negotiation theory” was first introduced by Stella Ting-Toomey, a Professor of Human Communication Studies at California State University, in 1988 based on amazing works of Goffman in 1955 and Levinson and Brown in 1987 (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey 2003). According to Griffin (2005), the main idea of this theory is to clarify people coming from dissimilar cultures will have different ways in managing conflicts as well as communication.
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At the end, both Gao and Wil decide to protect their love.
According to Hofstede (1980), American and China are significant example for the disparities in culture, one is a low-context culture with the individualistic society and another is a high-context culture with the collectivistic society respectively.
In this movie, there is a scene that Gao’s father – Mr. Wai Gung was extremely angry when he fought out that his daughter got pregnant and Gao tried to keep the secret about the father of this baby. Gao thought that getting pregnant without a husband was not a bad thing and when her father said “She is no longer a part of this family”, she said that “Father, please don’t feel shamed”. He responded that “How can I not feel shame? My own rotten flesh has gotten pregnant without a husband. You don’t think people will laugh at me? The professor speaks big words but can’t control his daughter?”. “She can throw her reputation away, but it still comes back to this family. Get out of this house. Don’t come back until you have a husband” he said.
In this situation, it supports the idea that collectivists in general and Chinese in particular often choose avoiding style as well as try to save a mutual-face and other-face more than different groups (Griffin 2005). Although they lived in American for a long time but they are the first generation so they still belong to collectivistic group (Samovar, Porter &
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