My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VII. Cultural Differences–Honor and Aggression
We may define face as “the respectability and/or deference which a person can claim for himself from others, by virtue of the relative position he occupies in his social network and the degree to which he is judged to have functioned adequately in that position as well as acceptably in his general conduct” (Ho, 1976, p. 883). The concept of “face” has its origin in Asian cultures, but each person, culture and society has its face-saving practices, which in many Western cultures may be named tact, diplomacy or social skills. People may want to save their own face, but also that of others. Furthermore, in cultures with high emphasis on face one can expect to be sustained in a particular face, and feel that it is morally proper that this be so. Moreover, face is something that can be given to others (Goffman, 1955). The importance of “face” was found to be related both to the individualism/collectivism distinction and to power distance. Communities with a higher level of collectivism and those higher on power distance tend to be more concerned with “face” (Oetzel et al., 2001).
Facework are “the actions taken by a person to make whatever he is doing consistent with face” (Goffman, 1955, p. 12). Facework is performed to protect one’s face from threat, possibly by avoidance or through corrective processes, and sometimes in aggressive ways (Goffman, 1955). Awareness to issues of face and facework were suggested as crucial in intercultural relations, and in specific in intercultural training (Imahori & Cupach, 2005; Ting-Toomey & Kurogi, 1998).