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Book: Face and Face Practices in Chinese Talk-in-Interaction

Chapter: Emic concepts of face

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.29846


Chapter 4 focuses on the analysis of ethnographic interviews with the native informants about emic concepts of face in Taiwanese business interactions. This provides an overview of native perspectives on the emic concepts of mianzi that are relevant to communication in business settings. Through the analysis four key themes emerged: (1) mianzi is a socially constructed image of persons or groups; (2) a close interrelationship holds between mianzi, guanxi (‘relationship’) and ganqing (‘emotive quality’); (3) a dynamic tension exists between mianzi and pursuing lizi (‘profit’ or ‘gain’) which is likely to be specific to business negotiations; and (4) upholding mianzi and avoiding damage to it in business interactions is
claimed to be crucial. This analysis hopes to contribute to our understanding of what business people say about face by drawing from the native informants’ knowledge and experiences in relation to face.

Chapter Contributors

  • Wei-Lin Chang ( - changm) 'University of Wollongong'