Cutural Studies

Cutural Studies

  • Submitted By: humhib
  • Date Submitted: 09/05/2008 7:38 AM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 639
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 1


For those of us not well-versed in Chinese culture, there is something we should know about the concept of face or having face. Stemming from this, there are also the related concepts of losing face, of saving face, and even of lending face.

Face is a concept not hard to understand because, everyone has face. When equated to Western and Eastern values, face is very similar to the notion of reputation. Face is a dynamic which applies to both personal and business relationships in China.

Corollary to face is the inseparable concept of guanxi or "relations". Face and guanxi work hand-in-hand. One without the other renders useless the dynamic these two concepts collectively work together.


In Asian culture, if someone has "good face" (or quite simply has "face"), such "face" means someone has a good reputation in front of one's peers. Interestingly enough, having good face is actually a "bankable" notion in Chinese culture. Having face in front of one's business colleagues or within a community is literally a statement of that person's value. If someone has good enough face, in some cases they can walk into a lending institution (such as smaller, privately operated banks), and take out a loan on their word only. People with good face are generally dependable, reliable, and safe to do business with.

Like the notion of Western culture, "His word is as good as gold." This is essentially what good "face" means.

In situations where someone of reputation has made a mistake or done wrong, and the error is made attributable to that person in public, then that one person has "lost face” their reputation in the eyes of their peers has been reduced. Losing face is an experience no-one wishes to have befallen them. So, even if the one losing face is clearly "wrong", some folks will go to great lengths to avoid the appearance of losing face.

In any case, when face has been lost,...

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