CiteWeb id: 20150000113

CiteWeb score: 1372

DOI: 10.1086/228588

Western research on interpersonal behavior patterns and rules of exchange needs to move beyond the assumption of isolated individuals socialized to make rational decisions on the basis of self-interest. A review of recent research shows that Chinese society and other similar societies follow rules that deviate from those of the West. In such societies, norms of reciprocity (bao) are intense, but these norms are heavily shaped by the hierarchically structured network of social relations (guanxi) in which people are embedded, by the public nature of obligations, and by the long time period over which obligations are incurred through a self-conscious manipulation of face and related symbols. These special cultural symbols, as well as the historical monopoly of valuable resources by powerful leaders, help explain he origin of these patterns. There are several forces leading to change but also some sources of continuity, which help maintain these patterns regardless of political and economic context.