Analysis of High Context and Low Context with the Film Shanghai Calling毕业论文_英语毕业论文

Analysis of High Context and Low Context with the Film Shanghai Calling毕业论文


摘 要




  1. Introduction 1
  2. Demonstration 2
    1. The definition of High Context and Low Context 2
    2. Superficial Culture Differences Between High Context and Low Context 3
      1. Language 4
      2. Etiquette 6
    3. Deep Culture Differences Between High Context and Low Context 7
    4. .1 Collectivist Value 7
      1. Friends View 9
      2. Face-Management View 10
  3. Conclusion 11

Works Cited 12

Bibliography 13

An Analysis of High Context and Low Context with the Film

Shanghai Calling


With the rapid development of globalization, China has increased its communication with the western countries, and the two sides are accelerating the interaction process. Nevertheless, the great cultural differences between the two countries can easily bring about the misunderstanding and conflict, which will not contribute to the communication and cooperation between the two countries.

Holzer (1977) said that Chinese culture belongs to the high-context, and American culture is a low-context culture. Besides, Edward Hall once put forward the concept of “high context” and “low context” in “Beyond Culture”. Moreover, professor Haiyu Zhu (2005) said that communication is a kind of cultural and social behavior, which must exist in a specific social and cultural context. Furthermore, this paper even describes the intercultural communication as “the communication between high context culture and low context culture”. Differences between high-context culture and low-context culture communication in the interpersonal relationships are inclined to lead to the failure of communication in a cross-culture context. Thus, we try to adapt to the culture so as to achieve the ideal effect in the cross-culture communication. In the process of communication, people attach importance to the “context” rather than the “content”, and they are willing to establish a relationship with a high social trust and evaluation. Also, they will make joint efforts to maintain a long-term relationship. What’s more, communication is implicit, and people are sensitive to those implicit information; therefore, in the early years, individuals have learned to accurately interpret the implicit information. In contrast, low-context communication means that most information is conveyed through the external language.

This article attempts to explore the cultural differences between high and low

context through the analysis of the movie Shanghai Calling, which aims to reduce the

misunderstandings in the cross-cultural communication.

The film “Shanghai Calling” tells the story that Sam, a lawyer who came from New York, was dispatched to work in Shanghai. Unfortunately, he fell into a legal quagmire accidentally, and then he almost lost his job. But with the help of a smart and sexy assistant, an alert reporter in Shanghai, a nice housekeeper, as well as a well-connected predecessor, Sam had the opportunity to keep his job. Therefore, in the living period in Shanghai, he turned to have enough ability to support his life. This film seems to be a romantic film, but actually it embodies many differences about the country, such as the language, etiquette, friends view and etc. It is obvious that this film gives impression to the two different cultural environments between the United States and China, and thus, it has long been well-received by fans and some cross-cultural scholars.

Analysis of the movie Shanghai Calling targets at showing the knowledge of inter-cultural communication with people from different countries. It also demonstrates a fact that Chinese in a foreign country must combine the local culture and foreign culture so as to truly achieve the cross-cultural fusion. In this paper, to begin with, an introduction about the movie Shanghai Calling and the concept of “high context”, as well as the “low context” will be given separately. Next, an analysis of high context and low context from the superficial and deep aspects will be conducted in accordance with the plots of the film, the characters of Sam, as well as his experience in China. In the end, a discussion on the importance of the paper will be concluded.


    1. The definition of High Context and Low Context

American scholar Hall (1959) points out the significance of culture in the society. He offers an effective way of studying cultural differences in line with the communication and perception, and he has also indicated that cultural context in his book “beyond culture” in 1976. Besides, Hall defines the context as “the information that surrounds the event; it is inextricably bound up with meaning of the event”. In

accordance with the degree of information that is encoded by context or expression, culture can be classified into high context and low context, and then two types of communication have been put forward, which is called “high-context communication” and “low-context communication” respectively.

Low-context communication is in need of the separate people and events. In the organization, more emphasis will be put on the working relationships and the criticism instead of the personal relationship. In contrast, the high-context culture doesn’t need to separate events and people, and the only thing that we should separate is criticism. This criticism will naturally lead to the embarrassment and humiliation; therefore, in the high-context culture, people often need to face a strong motivation. While in the low

-context culture, people usually do not need to be enthusiastic about things or people that they do not understand or do not know, that is to say, it is not necessary for them to love uncertainty. On the contrary, people in the high-context culture can tackle the uncertainty well. Of course, they need the information as well, and they are required to find fuzzy information.

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