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Title: An exploration of the dynamics of culture and personal acculturation in a culturally complex situation : learning from university students' experiences of group work
Author: Xu, Frank Hang
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 1647
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2018
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In this thesis, I adopt the anti-essentialist cultural paradigm to explore the complexity within the processes of both cultural-making and personal acculturation that may occur in an interweaving way within a local cultural arena (Holliday, 2011; 2013).More precisely, I contextualise this study in student group work as the specific cultural arena to investigate the cultural-making process towards group cohesiveness and individual group member's acculturation process. A conceptual framework is suggested after synthesising both the debates between the essentialist and the anti-essentialist cultural paradigms in the field of intercultural communication and the discussions on acculturation in the existing literature. I conceptually argue that culture is constituted by various salient aspects vis-à- vis cohesive thinking and behaviours that are always forming and re-forming. Personal acculturation can be explored through tracing the changes of an individual's cultural realities (Holliday, 2011; 2013). Both of them occur in parallel in a cultural arena (in this case, student group work).Through analysing in-depth, narrative data from 15 participants about their group work experiences, I fine-tune and enrich this conceptual framework with empirical evidence (i.e. the findings) to demonstrate complexity (i.e. uncertainty and fluidity) in the cultural-making process as well as the dynamics and unpredictability of personal acculturation (i.e. an individual presents different trends of the key aspects of acculturation). Furthermore, I also identify four types of personal acculturation trajectories by comparing all the participants' acculturation trajectories. Using this fine-tuned conceptual framework, the author of the thesis strengthens the potential links between the two separate, in parallel, but interrelated processes (e.g. cultural-making process and personal acculturation), which seem not to have been paid enough attention in the existing literature vis-à-vis the study of culture and (personal) acculturation. More importantly, the author argues that the links can be interpreted as an interplay in student group work asthe specific cultural arena.
Supervisor: Fischer, Mary ; Zhou, Vivien Xiaowei Sponsor: Edinburgh Napier University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Intercultural communication ; group work ; interplay ; 378 Higher education ; LB2300 Higher Education