Monday, September 19, 2011
Department Colloquium: Dr. Min-Sun Kim's "Beyond 'Silent Finns'" Presentation
On Friday, September 16, Dr. Min-Sun Kim, Professor of Communicology, presented observations from her recent stay at the University of Helsinki as a Fullbright Specialist in Residency. Dr. Kim’s colloquium, entitled “Beyond ‘Silent Finns’: Reexamining Individualism/Collectivism Dimensions within Finnish Cultural Contexts,” incorporated some of her experiences with the people, food, and cultural practices of Finland. At the conclusion of her presentation, Dr. Kim described how her experiences in Finland will help to inform her future intercultural communication research. She suggests that the Finnish culture represents a new form of individualism much different from our traditional understanding of the concept. Finns socially isolate themselves and refrain from getting involved with the affairs of others in exchange for their personal privacy. This extreme form of individualism witnessed in Finland compelled Dr. Kim to reexamine the traditional framework of individualism/collectivism. She proposes that we need to expand our thinking about the individualism/collectivism construct by going beyond our comparisons of U.S. and Asia to include countries ignored in previous research, such as Finland. The colloquium was well-attended by Communicology undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members.
-- Bobby Tokunaga