The culture of Vietnamese refusing: a mixed-methods multiperspectival approach
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 02:29 authored by Du Trong Nguyen
This research project aims at exploring the cultural values which condition and constrain Vietnamese refusing from different perspectives (Candlin, 1997, 2006; Candlin &Crichton, 2011a, 2013b; Crichton, 2010). Accordingly, the project is composed of three separate but interrelated studies exploring Vietnamese refusing from ethnographic-based, interactional and social psychological perspectives. The first study, drawing predominantly on interviews as the data collection tool, aims at exploring whether different native speakers of Vietnamese have different views on whether or not they would refuse in some given specific situations, and the reasoning behind such choices. The interviews were treated as social practices (Talmy, 2010; Talmy & Richards, 2011) and analysed using Sacks’ Membership Categorization Analysis (Sacks, 1974) and Goffman’s Participation Framework (Goffman, 1981). The second study seeks to explore how refusals are realised in interactions by investigating conversations taken from a Vietnamese television series. Film excerpts were subjected to Multimodal Interactional Analysis (Norris, 2004), Conversation Analysis (Hutchby & Wooffitt, 2008), and examined using Scollon’s Nexus of Practices (Scollon, 2001). The final study looks at the phenomenon in question from a social psychological perspective, using a Likert-scale questionnaire to explore how non-native speakers of Vietnamese perceive Vietnamese refusals. Analyses show that Confucian ideological and philosophical values still exert a great influence on Vietnamese people’s refusals. One important Confucian value is the hierarchical order in the family as well as in society in which each member has to fulfil his/her expected role. In addition, collectivism, patriarchy, and indirectness are also characteristics of Vietnamese society. However, in recent times the Vietnamese culture has also witnessed some degree of divergence from the traditional norms. For example, the four Confucian virtues expected for women are no longer strictly observed as before. Also, directness and rudeness have become common in everyday interactions in contemporary Vietnam. The possible impact of these social changes on the pragmatics of Vietnamese is also considered.