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From Social Memory to Global Consciousness: Narratives of History and Identity


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Professor James Liu's presentation titled 'From Social Memory to Global Consciousness: Narratives of History and Identity'.

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From Social Memory to Global Consciousness: Narratives of History and Identity

  1. 1. From Social Memory to Global Consciousness: Narratives of History and Identity Professor James H. Liu Centre for Applied Cross Cultural Research School of Psychology Victoria University of Wellington Email:
  2. 2. In Globalization today:• There are over 50,000 commercial airline flights per day, carrying more than a billion people a year• The total immigrant population in the world is more than 186 million• 300,000 jobs were outsourced from the USA to other countries in 2003. Manufacturing productivity increased by 103% from 1980 to 2002• Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is 73% stocked with products from Asian (and other) developing countries• China is now the world’s second largest economy & projected to overtake the USA as #1 in 2027• Is there a Global Consciousness to match the brute facts of globalization?• Can we identify elements of belief that we as a planet share in common, and areas of difference to mark for better understanding?
  3. 3. OVERVIEW- Past, Present, Future• Representations of World History around the Planet & their Implications for Global Consciousness (where we came from)• The Liberal Project and its Discontents: Bicultural Evidence from Aotearoa/NZ (where we are now)• The Pacific Century: Chinese Benevolent Authority Model of Societal Organization (where we’re going) – What is Global Consciousness?
  4. 4. Why History?• History is an important symbolic resource:(1) Human Consciousness is historically contingent on technology, mentalities, and temporal powers.(2) It encompasses the accumulated wisdom and knowledge from our ancestors that can be applied to new situations. History provides traditions, values, and symbols that are vital to the culture-specific functioning of societies. STABILITY(3) History is appealing as a tool for political communications because it offers concrete events and people with emotional resonance whose relevance to the current situation is open to interpretation and public debate. CHANGELiu & Hilton (2005) British Journal of Social Psychology
  5. 5. METHOD (Liu et al., 2005, Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology)• Student Samples from 6 Western nations: Australia, N=102; France, N=102; Germany, N=81; Great Britain, N=39; New Zealand, N=112; USA, N=86 (only post Sept 11 sample)• 6 Asian Samples: Hong Kong, N=123; Japan, N=91; Malaysia, N=180 ; Philippines, N=302; Singapore, N=201, Taiwan, N= 663 (half students, half adults)
  6. 6. Open Ended Questions used• Write down the names of the 5 people born in the last 1,000 years whom you consider to have had the most impact, good or bad, on World History.• Imagine that you were giving a seminar on world history. What 7 events would you teach as the most important in World History?• Open-ended answers written in by participants and coded.Liu et al. 2005 Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology
  7. 7. Most Important Events in World History according to Western SamplesRank USA Pct Great Britain Pct France Pct (N=82) (N=39) (N=99)1 WW II 86% WWII 77% WWII 64%2 WW I 50% WW I 64% French Rev 54%3 American Indep 38% Vietnam War 28% WW I 30%4 Sept 11 Terrorism 27% Man on the Moon 26% US History 28%5 Discov Americas 26% Birth of Christ 26% Colonization 27%6 Vietnam War 20% Industrial Rev 18% Atomic Bombing 20%7 American Civil War 20% Discov. Of America 18% German Reunification 19%8 French Rev 14% Roman Empire 18% Man on the Moon 16%9 Birth of Christ 14% Atomic Bombing 15% Decolonization 14%10 Breakup of USSR 12% Slavery 13% Nazism/Facism 12% Gulf War 13%Rank Australia Pct New Zealand Pct Germany Pct (N=98) (N=107) (N=81)1 WWII 68% WWII 73% WWII 68%2 WW I 60% WW I 64% WW I 60%3 Man on the Moon 24% Man on the Moon 37% French Rev 49%4 Holocaust 21% Womens Suffrage 21% Discov. Americas 32%5 Atomic Bombing 21% Birth of Christ 21% German Reunification 23%6 Industrial Revolution 19% Industrial Rev 20% Russian Rev 23%7 Vietnam War 18% Roman Empire & Fall 19% Cold War 21%8 Discov. Of Australia 16% German Reunification 16% Vietnam War 20%9 Womens Suffrage 16% Discov. Of America 16% Crusades 15%10 Birth of Christ 15% French Revolution 15% Colonialism 15%
  8. 8. Most Important Events in World History according to East Asian SamplesRank Japan Pct Taiwan Hong Kong Pct (N=75) (N=646) (N=119)1 WWII 52% WW II 69% WWII 81%2 WW I 29% WW I 60% WW I 52%3 French Revolution 23% Man on the Moon 25% Tien An Men 45%4 Industrial Rev 17% Industrial Rev 23% Sino-Japanese War 39%5 Vietnam War 17% American Indep 22% USSR Breakup 23%6 Cold War 12% Discov. of Americas 20% Cultural Revolution 19%7 Crusades 11% USSR Breakup 15% German Reunification 16%8 Atomic Bombing 9% Crusades 15% Gulf War 15%9 Discov. of Americas 9% Renaissance 14% American Indep 14%10 Korean War 7% French Revolution 10% French Revolution 14% American Indep 7%Rank Singapore Pct Philippines Pct Malaysia Pct (N=196) (N=272) (N=145)1 WWII 94% WWII 68% WWII 60%2 WW I 84% WW I 54% WW I 60%3 Gulf War 32% Gulf War 23% Industrial Rev 28%4 Cold War 24% French Rev 16% Rise of Islam 23%5 Great Depression 22% Industrial Rev 15% Atomic Bombing 17%6 Industrial Rev 19% Nazism 15% Chinese history 14%7 Vietnam War 11% Renaissance 15% Islam v.Christian Wars 13%8 USSR Breakup 10% People Power (EDSA) 14% Opium War 12%9 Rise of Communism 10% Atomic Bombing 13% Renaissance 12%10 French Revolution 9% Man on the Moon 11% Japanese colonialism 11% German Reunification 9%
  9. 9. Summary – Representations of World History(1) History is projected backwards from the present with sample averages of 63% of events and 72% of persons from the last 100 years(2) A Story about politics and war (esp. WWII & Hitler, most nominated person), accounting for 67% of events and persons.(3) More Eurocentric than ethnocentric.(4) Under-estimates the importance of economics and technology (& science).(Replicated using 12 more countries in 2009) TRIUMPH OF ENLIGHTENMENT REASON AND LIBERAL VALUES• The Good: Science, technology, human rights, equality, democracy & the sovereign individual (?)• The Contingent: Bureaucratic efficiency & economic rationalization, the system of nation states• The Bad: “War made the state, and the state made war” (historian Charles Tilly).Liu et al. (2005, 2009) Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
  10. 10. How general is this representation?• How about the great ancients of China and India? Present focused as well?
  11. 11. Most Important Events in World History China and IndiaRank China (N=115) Pct Eval India (N=100)   Eval1 WW II 81% 2.0 WW II 61% 2.82 Found PR China 48% 5.3 9-11 WTC 49% 3.13 WW I 40% 2.2 Indian Independence 42% 6.34 Industrial Rev 36% 5.2 WW I 37% 2.85 Technological Dev 33% 5.5 Cold War 20% 4.06 Fall of Communism 24% 3.2 India-Pakistan War 18% 3.77 Man on Moon 20% 5.5 both World Wars 15% 2.58 Colonization 20% 4.3 Partition India-Pak 15% 2.69 Sino-Japanese War 17% 4.2 Iraq War 14% 2.710 Atomic Bomb 16% 3.0 Asian Tsunami 14% 2.410= Opium War 16% 2.2      Most Important People in Last 1000 YearsRank China Pct Eval India Pct Eval1 Mao 64% 4.7 Gandhi 75% 4.92 Hitler 58% 3.0 Hitler 61% 3.63 Einstein 42% 5.5 Osama bin Laden 25% 5.64 Marx 40% 4.7 Mother Teresa 22% 5.85 Deng Xiaoping 36% 5.6 Bhagat Singh 19% 6.26 Napoleon 28% 4.6 Shivaji Bhonsle 18% 5.87 Zhou Enlai 21% 5.8 Einstein 16% 5.88 Newton 16% 4.9 Subhas C. Bose 11% 6.89 Sun Yatsen 10% 5.3 Lincoln 16% 5.610 Confucius 10% 5.0 George Bush Jr 11% 2.0
  12. 12. Conclusions from the Past: the Historical Basis for Global Consciousness• Global Historical Consciousness is rooted in forms of modernity developed and exported from the West to other Cultures, including democracy, the nation-state system, and industrialization.• We have left behind the era of Western imperialism, but that era casts long post- colonial shadows of inequality.
  13. 13. Indigenous Manifestations of Global Consciousness in Aotearoa/New Zealand• Problem with purely Western forms of Global Consciousness is that they can’t handle fundamental inequality between cultures and religions. So the reality doesn’t live up to the ideals.• Global consciousness has to be adapted to the indigenous conditions of life. In NZ, the struggle between Maori and Pakeha has been the defining thread of our narratives of nationhood.• Maori encounters with Western civilization = Bicultural conception of NZ nationhood that lives alongside a liberal view (Freedom, Equality, & Fraternity).
  14. 14. 10 MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN NEW ZEALAND HISTORY ACCORDING TO GENERAL SAMPLE OF MAORI ANDPAKEHA/NZ EUROPEANS (Liu, Wilson, McClure & Higgins, 1999 Maori (N=37) Pakeha (N=94) 1. Treaty of Waitangi 54% 1. Treaty of Waitangi 69% 2. The Land Wars 35% 2. World Wars 66% 3= Maori/Polynesian Arrival 30% 3. Maori/Polynesian Arrival 41% 3= European Arrival 30% 4. European Arrival 40% 3= World Wars 30% 5. The Land Wars 35% 6 Women’s Suffrage 19% 6. Women’s Suffrage 29% 7. Colonisation 16% 7. Arrival of James Cook 28% 8= Education Act passed pro- 14% 8. Colonisation 16% viding free education. 9= The Depression 14% 8= NZ becomed independent state. 14% 9= 1981 Springbok Tour 14% 8= Musket Wars between Tribes 14% 8= NZ Government formed 14% 8= 1981 Springbok Tour 14%
  15. 15. How well have Maori and Pakeha/NZ Europeans honoured the Treaty of Waitangi? 6 6 5 5 Mean Rating 4 4 Mean Rating Maori Honour Maori Honour 3 3 Pakeha Honour Pakeha Honour 2 2 1 1 0 0 Pakeha Maori Pakeha Maori Respondent Respondent Ethnicity Ethnicity Student Sample General Sample
  16. 16. Implicit Associations with Symbols of National Identity
  17. 17. At the symbolic level (IAT), Maori and Pakeha are BOTH part of the national identity
  18. 18. NZ accommodation between the Global & Local: Symbolic but not Resource-Based Inclusion for Maori• NZ has a set of adaptations to manage the fundamental inequalities between settler and indigenous society that are impressive, but still less than ideal.• If NZers are all so equal in principle, how is it that Maori form 16% of the total population and 50% of the prison population? How is it that Maori die 8 years younger than the NZ average?
  19. 19. Symbolic Accommodation: Supportfor Biculturalism in Principle (4.9/7)• Maori language should be taught in all New Zealand schools• The New Zealand national anthem should be sung in both Maori and English.• New Zealand should be known and seen as a bicultural society, reflecting an equal partnership between Maori and Pakeha.• If New Zealand were to change to a republic, then the Treaty of Waitangi should be used as a foundation for our constitution.• New Zealand should embrace it’s cultural diversity.
  20. 20. More Support for Liberal Democratic principle of Equality & Opposition to Resource-Based Biculturalism (5.7/7)• We are all New Zealanders, and no one ethnic group should get special privileges.• It is racist to give one ethnic group special privileges, even if they are a minority• I feel that although Maori have had it rough in past years, they should still be treated the same as everyone else.• No one group should be given privileges on the basis of ethnic or racial background• I find the idea of giving priority or special privileges to one group appalling, minority or otherwise
  21. 21. Historical Negation as a Legitimizing Myth for NZ Europeans (Sibley, Liu, Duckitt, & Khan, 2008 The Historical Negation Scale Loading Grievances for past injustices should be recognized and due compensation .86 offered to the descendants of those who suffered from such injustices. (r) New Zealand law needs to recognize that certain ethnic minorities have been treated unfairly in the past. People belonging to those groups should be entitled .84 to certain benefits and compensation. (r) I believe that I should take part in the efforts to help repair the damage to others .83 caused by earlier generations of people from my ethnic group. (r) We as a nation have a responsibility that see that due settlement is offered to .82 Maori in compensation for past injustices. (r) We should not have to pay for the mistakes of our ancestors. .81 We should all move on as one nation and forget about past differences and .79 conflicts between ethnic groups. It is true that many things happened to Maori people in the past that should not have happened, but it is unfair to hold current generations of Pakeha/NZ .78 Europeans accountable for things that happened so long ago. People who werent around in previous centuries should not feel accountable for .69 the actions of their ancestors. (r) = Item is reverse scored.
  22. 22. Maybe not racist, but it does maintain NZ European privilege through policypreferences denying the impact of the past
  23. 23. Visioning the Future: Two models in dialogue, one categorical, one relational (partnership-based)Liberalism Biculturalism Asians Pacific Islanders NZ Europeans Asians “unmarked”Maori Pakeha Maori PI
  24. 24. Inglehart & Baker’s (2000) Conclusion to 2 decades of research on the World Values Survey• “A history of Protestant or Islamic or Confucian traditions gives rise to cultural zones with distinctive value systems that persist after controlling for the effects of economic development… We doubt that the forces of modernization will produce a homogenized world culture in the foreseeable future. (p. 49).”
  25. 25. Most nations are collectivist & hi power distance (using relational models)
  26. 26. What Symbolic Resources and Cultural Capital do Chinese people have in dealing with Modernity?Gini coefficient .338 (1988), .416 (1995), .469 (2010)
  27. 27. East Asian Collectivism as Intragroup Relations (Yuki, 2003)
  28. 28. Chinese indigenous psychology: Ethics of Role Relations• The Five Cardinal Relationships prescribe not only the fundamental role relations in traditional Chinese society (Father-Son, Ruler-Minister, Husband-Wife, Elder Brother- Younger Brother, and Friends), but also appropriate attitudes & norms for behaviour within these roles.• Four of the Five roles are hierarchical, and complementary rather than Equal; three of the prescriptions model “benevolent paternalism” for the Father figure, and loyalty/affection for the subordinate role.• Traditional Chinese state as “Family writ large” with a Confucian ideology of moral ethics married to a Legalistic code of rewards and punishments.
  29. 29. Face & Favor: the Benevolent Authority Model of Chinese Social Organization• The 55 recognized ethnic minorities in Chinese receive categorical privileges, the greatest among which are exemptions from the 1 child policy.• Ethnic minorities privileges are not viewed as categorical discrimination against the majority, but relational favours for a junior family member.• Official statement of the Chinese government: “Great assistance of the relatively more advanced Han is extremely important in speeding up the development of minorities. Yet the Han have selflessly regarded this kind of assistance as their responsibility”.Liu (2010) Handbook of Chinese Psychology
  30. 30. Historical Affordances for Authority (Liu & Liu, 2003) Top Down Model of SocietyProfessor Shu-hsien Liu& Mrs. An-yuan Liu Guanxi
  31. 31. Benevolent Authority versus Right Wing Authoritarianism?• Past weighs on the Present: China is a top down society where civil society is relatively weak, and it takes centralized government to get things done. N=210, ½ rural, ½ urban – exploratory factor analysis on urban sample• American sample of 200+ adults collected via internet survey• Social psychology, with its focus on individual attitudes, is not well-equipped to capture political dynamics of top-down societies (Leninism)• Benevolent Authority (Confucianism)• Authoritarian Efficiency (Legalism)
  32. 32. Benevolent Authority: Alpha .86 China, M=3.9; .88 USA, M=2.8我们国家的领导人为青年人树立了很好的学习榜样The leaders in our country set a good example for young people to follow.我们国家的领导人不尽力做事,能躲就躲Leaders in this country try to do as little as they can get away with我们国家的大部分领导人不贪婪、不腐败Most of the leaders in our country are not greedy or corrupt.我们的领导人尽职尽责Our leaders act in responsible ways to carry out their duties.我们国家重要人物腐败问题比较严重Corruption is rampant among the important people in this country我们国家的领导人关心老百姓的利益Leading people in our country are concerned about the welfare of ordinary people.我们国家的领导人主要关心他们自己和家人的利益Leaders in our country are mostly concerned for their own welfare and that of their families很少看到现在的领导人为青年人树立好的学习榜样It is rare to see the leaders of today setting a good example for young people to follow
  33. 33. Authoritarian Efficiency: Alpha .66 China, M=4.0; .76 USA, M=3.0为了提高效率,中国人需要中央集权Chinese/American people need a system of command in order to be effective如果没有中央集权,社会效率会严重降低If there was not a strict system of command, the efficiency of society would be greatly reduced中国人完全能够在没有中央集权的干预下管理好自己。Chinese/Americans are perfectly capable of managing themselves without any interference from acentralized authority.使我们国家强大的唯一方式是每一个人都全心全意地支持我们的领导阶层The only way to harness the strength of our country is for everyone to wholeheartedly support ourleadership如果每个人都为自己着想并且独立行事,中国社会就会有高效率Chinese/American society should be most effective with each person thinking for themselves andacting independently做成大事的最好方式是追随强势的领导者The best way to achieve great things is to follow strong leaders中国人过去太相信那些强势领导了,到头来却总是让自己失望Chinese/American people in the past have put too much faith in strong leaders that have let themdown我们不需要中央集权来命令每个人并确保大家都遵从各种规定We don’t need a centralized authority to order everyone around and make sure they all follow therules
  34. 34. RWA: China Alpha .41, Mean=3.3, USA Alpha .83, M=3.0The real keys to the “good life” are obedience, discipline, and virtue. .798 .158 -.029 -.010Obedience and respect for authority are the most important values .775 -.241 -.055 .056children should learn.What our country really needs is strong, determined leader who will crush .661 .250 -.025 -.488the evil and set us on our right way again.What our country really needs instead of more “civil rights” is a good stiff .595 .021 .027 -.338dose of law and order.It is important to protect the rights of radicals and deviants in all ways. .186 .807 .004 -.187There is no such crime to justify capital punishment. -.029 .735 -.315 -.039The relationship of a couple living together for a long time should be .140 -.544 -.203 -.321treated just like marriage.It is good that nowadays young people have greater freedom “to make .035 .533 .220 .495their own rules” and to protest against things they don’t like.The withdrawal from tradition will turn out to be a fatal fault one day. .079 -.042 -.842 .097Be virtuous and law-abiding is in the long run better for us than -.014 .057 -.737 -.318permanently challenging the foundation of our society.The days when women are submissive should belong strictly in the past. -.100 -.170 .294 .710A “woman’s place” in society should be wherever she wants to be.People should develop their own personal standards about good and evil -.220 .330 -.196 .699and pay less attention to traditional forms of guidance.
  35. 35. Benevolent Authority and Authoritarian Efficiency are Coherent Concepts in USA, but with less societal agreementMean score of 2.8 for BA, 3 for AE in a general sample of Americans (Slightly disagree). USA ranks 22nd on Transparency Internationals Corruption Index, China much lower at 79, but Americans think of their leaders as more corrupt than mainland Chinese.BA not really benevolent in USA, +.21 corr with social distance, -.12 corr w/political toleranceChinese have a hierarchical, top-down form of Cultural Capital that gives societal leaders an powerful mandate to lead. Transitional self fulfilling prophecy?Highly coherent concepts, whereas RWA is a culture bound syndrome of the West
  36. 36. Shu-Hsien LIU A Height Psychology of Transitions & Aspirations Indigenous Psychology must draw from its culturalroots but should aspire to build them into a better futurebased on but not limited to the historical contingencies ofthe past. Benevolent Authority is both a description and anideal. Tension between the two always has characterizedConfucian philosophy Taiwan is a hybrid society with cultural roots inConfucian relationalism but a recent past and futurededicated towards establishing liberal Americaninstitutions HK & Singapore’s historical meldings are with Britishinstitutions of elite-based rule by law.
  37. 37. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Authority as part of Global Consciousness• Western democracy cannot address carbon emissions and climate change on its own. Top-down authoritarian regimes might be more capable of enforcing sacrifice for common good if they can live up to their own claims of benevolence. They are both part of a global fabric for survival.
  38. 38. What is Global Consciousness?• A form of Pluralistic Interconnectedness spanning gulfs of religion and culture with awareness and understanding. – Rooted in Western forms of modernity, but capable of taking on different forms as it fuses with alternative cultures and religions. – Coming to terms with two basic models of societal organization, one new and one more ancient: liberal/social democracy and benevolent authority – China is a sleeping dragon. It is better to let sleeping dragons lie. (Napoleon) – AASP Conference 2013, Aug 20-22 Yogyakarta, Indonesia