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DS2307 Culture and Communication in East Asia 6.0 credits

NB: This course is from the autumn 2013 replaced by LS2307 Culture and Communication in East Asia

The course, consisting of lectures and seminars, gives an introduction to the field of culture and communication with special emphasis on Japan and China.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus DS2307 (Autumn 2012–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Is it possible to work in China without guanxi? And are Japanese people really not able to say no? The world's second- and third-largest economies are geographically and culturally far away from Sweden, but organizations in the two countries are important to Swedish companies and engineers both as workplaces and as partners. After a review and discussion of relevant theoretical perspectives, the focus of the course will be on key aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication in Japan and China, and on underlying social and cultural factors, such as traditional value systems, forms of organization, interaction patterns and effects of various processes of globalization. We examine the fundamentals of the countries' major systems of thought, e.g., Confucianism and Daoism, as well as specific topics such as dinner etiquette, business culture and linguistic characteristics.

Intended learning outcomes

Aiming at practical as well as theoretical insights, this course explores similarities and differences between culture and communication in Japan and China. The overall aim is an improved management of communicative situations by means of informed analysis of how, and with what consequences, cultural beliefs and communicative strategies influence social interactions of various kinds. Concrete examples will mainly be taken from Japan and China, but the course will also provide general tools for the analysis of intercultural communication.

Specifically, this means that you after the course should be able to:

● give a critical account of relevant perspectives on culture as a concept and as an object of study

● give a critical account of relevant theoretical perspectives and models for analyzing intercultural communicative situations

● give a critical account of cultural structures, beliefs and communicative strategies of particular importance in the East Asian context.

● apply your knowledge to the analysis of concrete communicative situations, and propose strategies for improving communication between individuals or within organizations

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Three years of academic studies

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • UPP1 - Assignment 1, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • UPP2 - Assignment 2, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • UPP3 - Assignment 3, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • UPP4 - Assignment 4, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • UPP5 - Assignment 5, 2.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

75% attendance, all assignments reported

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Björn Kjellgren

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web DS2307

Offered by

ECE/Language and Communication

Main field of study


Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Björn Kjellgren, 790 6125,

Supplementary information

The course has limited participation. Students who are not present at course start risk losing their place on the course.

Course may get cancelled due to an insufficient number of students.