CFP Child raising across cultures

Journal of Intercultural Communication Research Call for papers
Child raising across cultures: practices, values and scripts
Special Issue Editor: Jock Wong, National University of Singapore

Anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists have written a large volume of books and journal articles about parenting in a diverse range of cultures. These studies have contributed immensely to our understanding of the cultural beliefs and values in a variety of cultures. However, most of these studies unintentionally describe these beliefs and values in ethnocentric terms. This is because language and culture are inextricably linked, and when we use a language to describe another language or culture, we run the risk of imposing the categories and values of the metalanguage onto the object of study. For example, when we ask how people in other cultures make “requests”, the question rests on the ethnocentric assumption that every language has a word for request and that every culture shares the values embodied in a request.

An ideal way to avoid ethnocentrism is to use a metalanguage that consists of semantically simple, un-definable words and grammatical structures that are universal. A metalanguage that is proposed to have these characteristics is the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM). A number of studies have shown the main advantage of using such a metalanguage is that it can describe cultural norms with maximal clarity and precision, and minimal ethnocentrism. Potential contributors may want to visit the NSM homepage to find out more about what this approach.

A forum to be published in a special issue of the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research in 2013 will be organized to discuss child raising practices in various cultures. We invite contributions that focus on linguistic aspects of child raising practices and encourage papers that use NSM as the analytic tool, but also welcome all methodologies that expound culture from the inside. We are especially interested in analyses of the culture-specific values and beliefs that influence what parents say to their children in order to mould them into culturally acceptable beings. How, for example, do these values and beliefs: determine what parents teach their children to say; influence how parents say it; guide the ways in which parents express their approval when their child does something considered “good”; result in common sayings about parental roles or good child behaviour? Selected cultural keywords or concepts related to parenting may be explained to give readers a better understanding of the culture described. Selected forms of parenting related verbal behaviour may also be explained in terms of cultural rules that are designed to represent the subconscious cultural values and beliefs held by parents within a given speech community

Each paper should be a maximum of 10 pages in length, double spaced, excluding references, figures, and tables, etc. The deadline for submission is January 14, 2013. All submissions must be submitted via the Manuscript Central System. For style information on the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, please select ‘Authors and submissions’.

The issue is being guest edited by Jock Wong, National University of Singapore, Centre for English Language Communication. To contact Jock, email him.


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