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La compétence communicationnelle et le jeu des normes : le cas de la communication chinoise

Abstract : By studying how the Chinese individual plays on social norms, the author aims to show how communicative competence links the micro and macro levels together. Based on the theory of complex networks (Green, 2000; Goldstein, 1999; Harvey & Reed, 1996) and on the structuration theory (Giddens, 1984), the article examines how organizational phenomena are inextricably related to the emergence of structural patterns that constraint action. These configurations are meta-matrix that bind and organize together, at higher hierarchical scales, various elements appearing in several social - both physical and cognitive - networks (Hardy & Agostinelli, 2008). In the context of socio-material organizations it can be said that there is organizational coorientation as human communication links two environments together: a social-material and a conceptual environment mediated by language (Taylor, 2006; Taylor & Van Every, 2000). Human beings live in two worlds at once; as a result, there is a need of a continuous "translation" from one world to another. Communication plays an essential role in this process. Therefore, studying communication helps us understanding how to "capture the dynamics of the translation in progress" (Taylor, 2006, p.147). The author conceives the social world as consisting of two main interconnected networks, a socio-material network linking human and nonhuman but physical actants, and a conceptual network, consisting of cultural rules, whose norms are one of the components. Culture is defined as a social structure, i.e. a socially distributed cognitive system, consisting of rules and resources (which are conceived as values or mental representations) and mediated by language. If the cultural rules organize the social world, behavior is only a matter of individuals (cf. Sapir, 1967/1927, p.38). In this context, individual variations are understood as individual practices which are guided but not determined by the system of rules. Culture is a cognitive network which constantly emerges at a variable degree of structuration from various hierarchical levels, which are local or global. These hierarchical levels emerge in situation through individual practice. The cognitive system of an individual can be represented as an emerging meta-matrix that combines on several dimensions elements of various socially distributed cognitive networks, and the individual can be viewed as "developing competence in multiple rule structures"(Sigman, 1980, p.38). Therefore the communicative competence can be conceived as this emerging meta-matrix. In the context of the social and interactional game, competence is defined as the ability of an individual to express an individual path (efficient aspect) while respecting the social rules, the common frame of reference (appropriate aspect). The constitutive rules, which are systems of meaning (cf. Searle, 1972), are the basis of normative rules and define the meaning of sanctions. As a consequence, social competence can be conceived for the individual to achieve his goals, even in the case where they would be inconsistent with the shared conventions and norms, without being sanctioned. To do this, the individual can bend the rules or change them. Bending the rules means finding a gap in the meaning system of constitutive rules. Changing the rules means modifying the configurations between the rules in the system of rules or modifying the system itself. Communicative competence is the ability to play with the norms: it is what introduces variety and individual strategy within the social structure. This study is based on the case of Chinese communication. The choice of examining communication in the context of Chinese culture has been made for two reasons, (1) because a national culture is a system of rules often institutionalized hence more salient compared to the rules of other national cultures; and (2) because Chinese culture is described by intercultural literature as "collective" compared to an individualistic Western culture. As part of this so-called collective culture, the individual would have no choice but to follow the rules which are imposed on him/her. However, some studies show that the Chinese individual exists as in any culture and that he/she uses communication strategies (Hardy and Jian, 2011; Chang, 2010, 2001). It is thus interesting to study the communicative competence, or the ability the individual has to play on social norms, in the Chinese context where communicative norms are particularly prominent. Keywords : norms ; cultural rules ; competence ; game ; Chinese communication
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 11:45:25 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00840328, version 1


Mylene Hardy. La compétence communicationnelle et le jeu des normes : le cas de la communication chinoise. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840328⟩



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