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.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Linguistics and Language
- anti-racist multicultural education
- Hong Kong
- intergroup conflict