Authors: T. C. Eng 1 and Don Kuiken
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Alberta P217 Biological Sciences Building, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2E9
Restricted access

In this study, multicultural literature served as a site for Chinese Canadians to explore the interplay between their dual cultural backgrounds. After reading a story written by a Chinese Canadian author, participants were invited to imagine a dialogue between two characters with whom they identified, allowing the exploration of different aspects of their bicultural selves. Systematic examination of their dialogues, using cluster analysis of recurrently expressed dialogical themes, revealed four distinct expressive styles (Rhetorical Conflict, Imperative Conflict, Active Narration, and Embodied Reconciliation), each revealing a different bicultural stance. Both the rhetorically probing and explicitly imperative styles of expression reflected a fusion of Chinese and Canadian expectations regarding confrontation, although in different ways each also facilitated the maintenance of a conflictual cultural hierarchy. Active, but distanced, narrative description reflected the preservation of a collective sense of self that is characteristic of traditional Chinese culture. Finally, dialogic enactment of conflicting “voices” allowed reconciliatory, embodied, and generative fusions of Chinese and Canadian cultural expectations.