Asiacentrism

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"Asiacentrism" or "Asiacentricity" is a neologism denoting a supposed ethnocentric perspective that regards Asia[dubious ] (as in Asian American, a racial concept in US society which includes people of East, Southeast and South Asian descent) to be either superior, central, or unique relative to other continent or countries. This can take the form of ascribing to Asia unwarranted significance or supremacy at the cost of the rest of the world.[1] The concept arose since the 1990s in the context of a projected Asian Century, the expected economic and cultural dominance of Asia (primarily China) in the 21st century.

Paul Wong, Meera Manvi, and Takeo Hirota Wong proposed “Asiacentrism” in the 1995 special issue of Amerasia Journal on “Thinking Theory in Asian American Studies.” They envisioned Asiacentrism both as a critique of hegemonic Eurocentrism in theory building in the humanities and social sciences and as a post-Orientalist epistemological paradigm in Asian American Studies. They suggested that there is a need to tap into Asian traditions of thought for analyzing Asian American behaviors and for advancing global knowledge in the human interest. In their view, Asiacentrism may be able to offer an alternative Asian perspective grounded in an awareness of the dynamics of a postcolonial world.[2]

Yoshitaka Miike, who was inspired by Molefi Kete Asante’s Afrocentric idea,[3] coined the term Asiacentricity and outlined the Asiacentric project in culture and communication studies in 2003.[4] He recently defined Asiacentricity as “the self-conscious act of centering Asian languages, religions/philosophies, histories, and aesthetics when addressing Asian people and phenomena.” According to him, Asiacentricity “insists on revivifying and revitalizing diverse Asian cultural traditions as theoretical resources in order to capture Asians as subjects and actors of their own cultural realities rather than objects and spectators in the lived experiences of others.[5]

Borrowing from Daisetz Suzuki’s words, Miike stated that Asiacentricity is essentially “the idea of being deep and open,” that is, the idea of being rooted in our own culture and, at the same time, open to other cultures.[6] He differentiates Asiacentricity as a particularist position from Asiacentrism as a universalist ideology: Asiacentricity is a legitimate culture-centric approach to cultural Asia and people of Asian descent, while Asiacentrism is an ethnocentric approach to non-Asian worlds and people of non-Asian heritage.[7]

Simply put, Asiacentricity is the idea of centering, not marginalizing, Asian languages, religions/philosophies, and histories in theory-making and story-telling about Asian communicative life. Asiacentricity aims to encourage careful and critical engagements of Asian communicators with their own cultural traditions for self-understanding, self-expression, communal development, and cross-cultural dialogue. Intraculturally, it helps Asians embrace the positive elements of their cultural heritage and transform negative practices according to their ethical ideals. Interculturally, it helps Asians find “a place to stand,” so to speak, and provides the basis of equality and mutuality in the global community.[8]

Miike identifies six dimensions of Asiacentricity: (1) an assertion of Asians as subjects and agents; (2) the centrality of the collective and humanistic interests of Asia and Asians in the process of knowledge reconstruction about the Asian world; (3) the placement of Asian cultural values and ideals at the center of inquiry into Asian thought and action; (4) the groundedness in Asian historical experiences; (5) an Asian theoretical orientation to data; and (6) an Asian ethical critique and corrective of the dislocation and displacement of Asian people and phenomena.[9]

In Miike’s comprehensive outline, Asiacentricity (1) generates theoretical knowledge that corresponds to Asian communication discourse, (2) focuses on the multiplicity and complexity of Asian communicative experience, (3) reflexively constitutes and critically transforms Asian communication discourse, (4) theorizes how common aspects of humanity are expressed and understood in Asian cultural particularities, and (5) critiques Eurocentric biases in theory and research and helps Asian researchers overcome academic dependency.[10]

Jing Yin explored the possibility of constructing an Asiacentric feminist theory in the 2009 special issue of the Journal of the Multicultural Discourse on “New Frontiers in Asian Communication Theory.” She argued that Eurocentric feminism often reduces the richness and complexities of non-Western cultural traditions to gender oppression alone. She argued that the Asiacentric feminist approach commends the complementarity of genders, embraces the harmony of the individual and the community, and endorses the dialectics of rights and responsibilities.[11]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Miike, Y. (2006). Non-Western theory in Western research? An Asiacentric agenda for Asian communication studies. Review of Communication, 6(1/2), 4-31.
  • Miike, Y. (2007). An Asiacentric reflection on Eurocentric bias in communication theory. Communication Monographs, 74(2), 272-278.
  • Miike, Y. (2008). Toward an alternative metatheory of human communication: An Asiacentric vision. In M. K. Asante, Y. Miike, & J. Yin (Eds.), The global intercultural communication reader (pp. 57–72). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Miike, Y. (2010). Culture as text and culture as theory: Asiacentricity and its raison d’être in intercultural communication research. In T. K. Nakayama & R. T. Halualani (Eds.), The handbook of critical intercultural communication (pp. 190–215). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Miike, Y. (2012). “Harmony without uniformity”: An Asiacentric worldview and its communicative implications. In L. A. Samovar, R. E. Porter, & E. R. McDaniel (Eds.), Intercultural communication: A reader (13th ed., pp. 65–80). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  • Miike, Y. (2014). The Asiacentric turn in Asian communication studies: Shifting paradigms and changing perspectives. In M. K. Asante, Y. Miike, & J. Yin (Eds.), The global intercultural communication reader (2nd ed., pp. 111–133). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Miike, Y., & Yin, J. (2015). Asiacentricity and shapes of the future: Envisioning the field of intercultural communication in the globalization era. In L. A. Samovar, R. E. Porter, E. R. McDaniel, & C. S. Roy (Eds.), Intercultural communication: A reader (14th ed., pp. 449–465). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  • Wong, P., Manvi, M., & Wong, T. H. (1995). Asiacentrism and Asian American Studies? Amerasia Journal, 21(1/2), 137-147.
  • Yin, J. (2009). Negotiating the center: Towards an Asiacentric feminist communication theory. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 4(1), 75-88.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Asiacentrism and Asian American Studies? - Retrieved 23 July 2013.[unreliable source?] Thomas Wier - Dept. of Linguistics[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Paul Wong, Meera Manvi, & Takeo Hirota Wong, “Asiacentrism and Asian American Studies?,” In Michael Omi & Dana Takagi (Eds.), Thinking Theory in Asian American Studies (Special Issue), Amerasia Journal, Vol. 21, Nos. 1/2, 1995, pp. 137-147.
  3. ^ Molefi Kete Asante & Yoshitaka Miike, “Paradigmatic Issues in Intercultural Communication Studies: An Afrocentric-Asiacentric Dialogue,” China Media Research, Vol. 9, No. 3, July 2013, pp. 1-19.
  4. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “Beyond Eurocentrism in the Intercultural Field: Searching for an Asiacentric Paradigm,” In William J. Starosta & Guo-Ming Chen (Eds.), Ferment in the Intercultural Field: Axiology/Value/Praxis (International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Vol. 26), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003, pp. 243-276.
  5. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “Asiacentricity,” Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, No. 24, July 21, 2014, Washington, DC: Center for Intercultural Dialogue. (Available from http://centerforinterculturaldialogue.org/2014/07/21/key-concept-24-asiacentricity-by-yoshitaka-miike/.)
  6. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “Asiacentricity: The Idea of Being Deep and Open,” In Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, Catherine Nickerson, & Brigitte Planken, Business Discourse (2nd Ed.), Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 57-58.
  7. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “Cultural Traditions and Communication Theory: Clarifying the Asiacentric Paradigm,” China Media Research, Vol. 8, No. 3, July 2012, pp. 3-5.
  8. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “Cultural Traditions and Communication Theory: Clarifying the Asiacentric Paradigm,” China Media Research, Vol. 8, No. 3, July 2012, p. 3.
  9. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “An Anatomy of Eurocentrism in Communication Scholarship: The Role of Asiacentricity in De-Westernizing Theory and Research,” China Media Research, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 2010, p. 4.
  10. ^ Yoshitaka Miike, “An Anatomy of Eurocentrism in Communication Scholarship: The Role of Asiacentricity in De-Westernizing Theory and Research,” China Media Research, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 5-7.
  11. ^ Jing Yin, “Negotiating the Centre: Towards an Asiacentric Feminist Communication Theory,” In Yoshitaka Miike (Ed.), New Frontiers in Asian Communication Theory (Special Issue), Journal of Multicultural Discourses, Vol. 4, No. 1, March 2009, pp. 75-88.