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A Glimpse Of American Cultural Values From The Text Of The Declaration Of Independence

5016 words - 21 pages

A Glimpse of American Cultural Values from the Text of The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is a statement of the American Revolutionary War and also an important defense of bourgeois rights. Studying carefully American cultural values from The Declaration of Independence, we can better understand the core of our Chinese cultural values and get to know the main differences and similarities between these two value systems. In this way, we will find all the advantages and disadvantages regarding both cultural values, and thus learn those good ones while overcome the shortcomings.
This thesis falls into five chapters. In the first chapter, the ...view middle of the document...

And those interactions will continue to grow in both frequency and intensity. Besides, as we all know, the influence of culture affects communication in various ways. And our cultural perceptions and experiences help decide how the world looks and how we interact in that world. Therefore, with the expectation of enhancing our understanding of American culture and paving the way for Sino-American cultural communication, I intend to start the research with the analysis of American cultural values. And I pick up The Declaration of Independence as a mirror to reflect those American culture values because it is a statement of the American Revolutionary War as well as an important defense of bourgeois rights. Also, the document does give some essential expression to American values. Studying carefully American cultural values from The Declaration of Independence, we can better understand American culture, know the difference between Chinese and American culture and adopt their strong points while overcome our weak points. The significance also lies in the fact that cultural value analysis acts as an organizational grid in mapping the relationships among cultural variability, self-conception, and communication. It highlights both possible differences and similarities of practices between cultural groups. It also helps us to understand our own implicit values through looking into the mirror of another culture.
Chapter 2 Definitions of Related Concepts

2.1 Value

Hu Wenzhong, a famous cultural scholar in China, has pointed out that of all the problems discussed or studied in intercultural communication research, value is one of the most important problems and deserves great attention. Almost everyone have known the word 'value' early in life, but when it comes to its exact definition, only few can give the right answer. Scholars have offered many versions. Samovar and Porter interpreted it as: "a learned organization of rules for making choices and for resolving conflicts. These rules are normative and they teach us what is useful, good, right, wrong, what to strive for, how to live our life, and even what to die for" (qtd. in 石健 3). According to Albert, a value "represents what is expected or hoped for, required or forbidden. It is not a report of actual conduct but is the system of criteria by which conduct is judged and sanctions applied"(qtd.in田琳5). Kluckhohn's definition is the most widely cited: "a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the selection from available modes, means, and ends of action" (qtd. in 石健 3). From all of these statements, we can detect that value seem to be at the core of the culture, which guides people's choices, speech, and behavioral patterns.

2.2 Cultural Value

If you asked most Americans what the cultural values in the U.S. are, you might get some blank stares, or a statement of some basic beliefs. The question...

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