Explored but not Assumed: Revisiting Commonalities in Asian Pacific Communication
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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This article addresses an ongoing and persistent problem of imbalance between similarity and difference in cultural description by proposing a way to simultaneously explore both similarity and difference, relying on the principles of Russian literary and cultural critic Mikhail Bakhtin. Five principles, employed as sensitizing concepts, are described as portals to allow consideration of cultural similarity into linguistic descriptions of culture: specificity; ownership; tension; open and closed perception; and uncompletedness. These portals are applied to various forms of cultural description to be found in East Asia, including transnational political depictions; cyberactivist protest; and touristic literature. It is concluded that the Bakhtinian ideas offer a convenient and useful means to bring together similarity and difference, with the result that each quality enhances the other.


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