Fangtan: an indigenous Chinese approach to psychological research/practice

Li, Wendy Wen (2011) Fangtan: an indigenous Chinese approach to psychological research/practice. In: Abstract Book of the 9th Biennial Conference of Asian Association of Social Psychology. pp. 81-82. From: 9th Biennial Conference of the Asian Association of Social Psychology, 28-31 July 2011, Kunming, China.

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There is a growing body of literature that has emphasized the importance of using culturally appropriate approach in psychological research/practice. Researchers have argued that it is dangerous in assuming that Western and non-Western knowledge has the same origins and construction. Many of the Western research topics are not culturally relevant to the needs of non-Western people being studied. Many Western methods may be inappropriate to the ways of the non-Western people since there is an overemphasis on data rather than the process of doing research. To respond to these challenges, cultural and indigenous psychologists have suggested ways of making research more culture-specific that are not imported nor invented, but indigenous. Echoing these endeavors, this paper proposes Fangtan as an indigenous Chinese approach to psychological research/practice. Fangtan is comprised of two Chinese words: fang and tan. Fang means interviewing and asking questions, while Tan means dialogues and dialogical discussions. Fangtan therefore characterizes the dialogical discussion and rapport between the researcher and the participant. The Confucian concept of the self provides fangtan with a different ontological foundation from the Western-based interview. For Confucianism, the self as "being-in-relations" emphasizes a reciprocal relationship between human beings. Relation is not just a concept of connection, but at the same time a declaration of being. Relation is an ontological reality that determines human beings. Based upon the ontological reality, fangtan emphasizes the importance of doing research with people rather than on people. As an indigenous Chinese approach to psychological research/practice, fangtan is concerned with locating psychological research/practice within the social, historical and cultural realities of the Chinese community. As such, fangtan boosts researchers' commitment to the community with which they are working and provides a space and an open structure for participants to elaborate their experiences and cultural views. Fangtan, therefore, highlights the importance of employing approaches to psychological research/practice that are empowering and critical.

Item ID: 18417
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: indigenous psychology, fangtan, research method, Confucianism, relational self
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2012 02:19
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920502 Health Related to Ageing @ 100%
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