The reproduction of culture through argumentative discourse: Studying the contested nature of Hong Kong in the international media

Shi-xu and Manfred Kienpointner


Discourse and communication approaches to culture have traditionally been concerned with the role of language in (mis)representing cultures. But how text and talk reproduce and transform cultures is just beginning to be understood. Proceeding from the view that cultural creation, development and transformation are constituted in and through situated discursive practice, this study explores the interconnections between argumentative discourse and cultural reproduction. The research is based on multinational and multilingual data of journalistic communication on Hong Kong’s historic transition. It is shown that the causes of Hong Kong’s economic success, as an important cultural feature, are used as arguments to undermine contrary claims. It is also revealed that the future development of Hong Kong is being constrained by the argument ad baculum. In addition, it is observed that Hong Kong’s identities are used as bases for prescribing desired course of action. Finally, these argumentative strategies are re-examined in their broader historical and cultural context in order to show how Hong Kong’s past, present and future are cultural realities bound up with Western desire and power.

Quick links
A browser-friendly version of this article is not yet available. View PDF
Antaki, C
(1994) Explaining and Arguing: The Social Organization of Accounts. London: Sage Publications.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Antaki, C., & S. Widdicombe
(eds.) (1998) Identities in Talk. London: Sage.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Austin, J.L
(1962) How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Bakhtin, M.M
(1981) The Dialogic Imagination: Four essays. (Ed. M. Holquist; trans. C. Emerson, & M. Holquist.). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
(1986) Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. (Trans. V.W. McGee). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
Bauman, R., & J. Sherzer
(eds.) (1996) Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Bhabha H.K
(1992) Postcolonial authority and postmodern guilt. In L. Grossberg, C. Nelson & P. Treichler (eds.), Cultural Studies. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 56-68.Google Scholar
Billig, M
(1995) Banal Nationalism. London: Sage Publications.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bourdieu, P
(1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Butler, J
(1992) Contingent foundations: Feminism and the question of 'postmodernism'. In J. Butler, & J.W. Scott (eds.), Feminists Theorize the Politica.l New York: Routledge, pp. 3-21.Google Scholar
Buttny, R
(1993) Social Accountability in Communication. London: Sage Publications.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Carbaugh, D.A
(1988) Talking American: Cultural Discourses on Donahue. London: Ablex.Google Scholar
(ed.) (1990) Cultural Communication and Intercultural Contact. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Clifford, J
(1988) The Predicament of Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Cole, M
(1996) Cultural Psychology: A once and future discipline. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Deleuze, G
(1988) Foucault. London: The Athlone Press.Google Scholar
Edwards, D
(1991) Categories are for talking: On the cognitive and discursive bases of categorization. Theory and Psychology. 1: 515-42. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Fabian, J
(1983) Time and the Other: How anthropology makes its object. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Foucault, M
(1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected interviews & other writings 1972-1977. Ed. Colin Gordon. New York: Pentheon Books.Google Scholar
Garssen, B
(1997) Argumentatieschema's in pragma-dialektisch perspektief. Amsterdam: IFOTT.Google Scholar
Giddens, A
(1984) The Constitution of Society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
(1991) Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Govier, T
(1987) Problems in Argument Analysis and Evaluation. Dordrecht: Foris. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Gramsci, A
(1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Ed. and trans. Q. Hoare & G.N. Smith. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
Grennan, W
(1997) Informal Logic. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.Google Scholar
Grice, H.P
(1975) Logic and Conversation. In P. Cole & J.L. Morgan (eds.), Speech Acts. New York: Academic Press, pp. 41-58. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Grodin, D., & T.R. Lindlof
(eds.) (1996) Constructing the Self in a Mediated World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Habermas, J
(1972) Knowledge and Human Interests. (Trans. & Intro. by T. McCarthy). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Hall, S
(1996a) Cultural studies: Two paradigms. In J. Storey (ed.), What is Cultural Studies: A reader. London: Arnold, pp. 31-48. (Also 1980, Media, Culture and Society, 2)Google Scholar
Kienpointner, M
(1983) Argumentations analyse. Innsbruck: Inst. für Sprachwissenschaft.Google Scholar
(1992) Alltagslogik. Stuttgart: Frommann /Holzboog.Google Scholar
(1993) The empirical relevance of Perelman's new rhetoric. In Argumentation. 7.4: 419-437. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1996) Vernünftig argumentieren. Reinbek: Rowohlt.Google Scholar
Kienpointner, M., & W. Kindt
(1997) On the problem of bias in political argumentation. Journal of Pragmatics. 27: 555-85. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Knight, A., & Y. Nakano
(eds.) (1999) Reporting Hong Kong: Foreign media and the handover. London: Curzon.Google Scholar
Marcus, G
(1986) Afterword: Ethnographic writing and anthropological careers. In J. Clifford & G.E. Marcus (eds.), Writing Culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography, pp. 262-66.Google Scholar
McHoul, A., & W. Grace
(1993) A Foucault Primer. New York: New York University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Perelman, Ch., & L. Olbrechts-Tyteca
(1971) The New Rhetoric: A treatise on argumentation. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Pratt, M.L
(1992Imperial Eyes: Travel writing and transculturation. London: Routledge. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1953) Institutio oratoria. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
Rabinow, P
(1986) Representations are social facts: Modernity and post-modernity in anthropology. In J. Clifford & G.E. Marcus (eds.), Writing Culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography, pp. 234-61.Google Scholar
Sadock, J.M
(1978) On testing for conversational implicature. In P. Cole (ed.), Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press, pp. 281-297. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Said, E.W
(1993) Culture and Imperialism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
Schellens, P.J
(1985Redelijke argumenten. Dordrecht: ICG Printing.Google Scholar
Scott, M.B., & S. Lyman
(1968) AccountsAmerican Sociological Review. 33: 46-62. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1994) Ideology: Strategies of reason and functions of control in accounts of the non-Western Other. Journal of Pragmatics 21.6: 645-69. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1995b) Cultural perceptions: Exploiting the unexpected of the Other. Culture and Psychology. 1.3: 315-42. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1996) Concepts of 'language' in discourse: An interactional resource in troubled intercultural contexts. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 122: 47-72.Google Scholar
(1997) Cultural Representations: Analyzing the discourse of the Other. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
(1999) Attributional explanation: Exploring structural and qualitative complexities. Journal of Language and Social Psychology. 18.4: 356-76. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Shweder, R.A
(1990) Cultural Psychology - what is it? In J.W. Stigler, R.A. Shweder & G. Herdt Cultral (Eds.), Psychology: Essays on comparative human development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-43. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Streeck, J
(1994) Culture, meaning, and interpersonal communication. In M.L. Knapp & G.R. Miller (eds.), Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, pp. 286-319.Google Scholar
Taylor, C
(1999) Two theories of modernity. Public Culture. 11.1: 153-74. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Thompson, J
(1995) The Media and Modernity: A social theory of the media. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Toulmin, S
(1958) The Uses of Argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Van Eemeren, F.H., & R. Grootendorst
(1992) Argumentation, Communication, and Fallacies: A pragma- dialectical perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Van Eemeren, F.H., R. Grootendorst, & F. Snoeck Henkemans
(1996) Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory. A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments. Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Voloshinov, V.N
(1986) Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Walton, D
(1992) The Place of Emotion in Argument. Univ. Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.Google Scholar
(1996) Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Williams, R
(1976) Keywords. London: Fontana. (2nd ed. 1983).Google Scholar
Wittgenstein, L
(1968) Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar