Constructing the cultural 'other': prejudice and intergroup conflict in university students' discourses about 'the other'

Hans LADEGAARD, Ho Fai Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses how university students in Hong Kong talk about 'self' and 'other'. Three groups of students, Hong Kong Chinese, Mainland Chinese, and Overseas Exchange students, were asked to characterise these three groups in a pre-discussion questionnaire, and subsequently discuss freely what they had written. Selected excerpts from these discussions are analysed, and the analyses show that there are significant differences between the written and the oral responses. The pre-discussion stereotypes appear to be predominantly positive, whereas the students jointly construct predominantly negative stereotypes about 'the other' during their discussions. Different discourse strategies are employed by the three groups to discredit 'the other' and, at the same time, enhance intergroup differentiation and a positive ingroup identity. The findings are discussed vis-à-vis predominantly social psychological theories, and the study highlights that the attempt to create more internationalised universities may be jeopardised if negative intergroup stereotypes prevail. The article suggests that universities should take a more proactive role in promoting anti-racist multicultural education to counter intergroup prejudice and potential conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-175
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • anti-racist multicultural education
  • Hong Kong
  • intergroup conflict
  • internationalisation
  • prejudice
  • stereotypes


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