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Ritual, Communication and Culture: Overcoming the Paradox of a Modern, (Yet) Traditional Society


Lakos, W, Ritual, Communication and Culture: Overcoming the Paradox of a Modern, (Yet) Traditional Society, Asian Journal of Literature, Culture and Society, 3, (2) pp. 1-17. ISSN 1905-856X (2009) [Refereed Article]

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There is no doubt that China and Asia have been going through an extended period of change and transition. These changes have most often been seen, and understood from within the paradigm "tradition and modernity", and often articulated as a "paradox". However, the discourse dealing with how the West understands China has more to do with ideology than with a critical and reasoned understanding of another culture. "Apparent" paradoxes are indicative of epistemological problems or inconsistencies. The main epistemological problem with this paradigm is one of Western ethno-centric distortion. The global hegemony of Western intelligentsia, including the media, promotes "the ideas and values" invented by Western intellectuals and reflects the ideologies and values of Western culture.

Important symbols, such as ancestor worship, are "vehicles of culture" and they may be studied not for themselves, but for what they can reveal to us about culture. Starting with the rituals of Chinese ancestor worship and ending with the rituals of modern day news and information consumption, this paper explores how a symbolic understanding Chinese culture reveals the deep streams of cultural continuity, where "tradition" abides at one level, and "modernity" at another.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Asian cultural studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lakos, W (Dr William Lakos)
ID Code:59027
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Asian Languages and Studies
Deposited On:2009-11-16
Last Modified:2013-02-07
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