Intercultural communication studies: the policy background

Intercultural communication
studies: the policy background
Michael Kelly
University of Southampton
Revised May 2011
Development of intercultural
• Main growth in 1990’s
• Demand from
– Business
– Government
– International organisations
– Students
Policy context for ICC
• Globalisation
– Trade and industry
– Mobility and travel
– Migration, diasporas
– Knowledge society
– Strategic role of higher education
European context
• Economic integration
• Single Market 1993
• Free movement of:
– Capital
– Workers
– Goods
– Services
– (information, Ideas)
European context
• Political integration
– Enlargement
– Ever closer union
– Political cooperation
– Citizenship
– Social inclusion
European context
• Cultural integration
– Unity in diversity
– Shared cultural heritage
– Developing cultural cooperation
– Convergence in Higher Education
Language context
• The problem of linguistic diversity
– Non-tariff barrier to mobility
– Competitive disadvantage in knowledge economy
– Mechanism of social exclusion
– Cultural barrier to cooperation and mutual
Language context
• The solution of language education
If we are to derive more benefit from free movement within the single market,
become more competitive in the knowledge economy and understand and be
more aware of each other within an enlarged EU, we Europeans must make an
effort to learn languages.
(Viviane Reding, European Commission, 2003)
• The Barcelona objective: 1 + 2
– Mother tongue plus two other languages
Language context
• The challenge of multilingualism
– High level of competence needed
– Diversity exceeds capability
– English as international language
– Language is more than communication
– Communication is more than language
The solution of intercultural
communication education
• Supplement to multilingual communication
• Supplement to lack of multilingual
• But there are issues…
Issues in intercultural
• Cognitive response of research and
development community:
– Construct ICC from existing disciplines
– No single discipline dominates
– ‘Bricolage’ (Claude Levi-Strauss)
Issues in intercultural
• Connected with different policy areas,
including, for example:
– Business
– Immigration
– Citizenship
– Culture
Issues in intercultural
• Business
– ICC education for management of cultural
• Disciplines
– Economics
– Management theory
– Psychology
– Sociology
– Area studies
Issues in intercultural
• Immigration
– ICC education for community development
• Disciplines
– Sociology
– Social work studies
– Anthropology, ethnology
Issues in intercultural
• Citizenship
– ICC education for civic responsibility and
international understanding
• Disciplines
– Political science and political philosophy
– Ethics
– History
– Geography
Issues in intercultural
• Culture
– ICC education for cultural diversity and
• Disciplines
– Literary and cultural studies
– Creative and performing arts
– History and archaeology
– Language and linguistics
– Communication studies
– Critical theory
Issues in intercultural
• Strengths and weaknesses of Bricolage
– High level of adaptability
– Difficulties of coherence
– Pragmatic, solution-oriented
– Limited cognitive power
Issues in intercultural
• Disciplines offer many different theoretical
• Approaches may disregard or emphasise:
– Language
– Culture
– Power
– National identity
Issues in intercultural
• Different theoretical approaches related to
different countries or areas
– European
– American
– Post-colonial
• Issue of cultural domination
• Issue of national identity
• Binary oppositions
Third Space approaches to
intercultural communication
• The Third Space as an alternative
– Homi Bhaba
• Cultures are not unitary
• Meaning requires a third space
– Between the self and the other
– Between the signifier and the signified
Third Space approaches to
intercultural communication
• Third space formed by:
– General conditions of intelligibility
• Structure of language, communication
– Specific implication of utterance/action
• Non-conscious strategy of performance, institution
Third Space approaches to
intercultural communication
• Constructing the Third Space
– Pierre Bourdieu
• Interactions are constructed
– Within a social context of relationships
• Which is a coherent field
– By participants (agents)
• Each has their own habitus
Third Space approaches to
intercultural communication
• Each interaction or set of interactions
– Modifies the habitus of participants
– Modifies the field
• It may reinforce or transform existing
• It may create new relationships
Third Space approaches to
intercultural communication
• Third Space approaches are deeply ambivalent
• Potentially radical or conservative
– Acknowledge power relations
• Unmasking or confirming
– Strategies of resistance to domination
• But also strategies of domination, and resitance to
Third Space approaches to
intercultural communication
• Opportunities for creativity in communication
– But also opportunities for further codification and
• Opportunities for criticial reflection
– But may also be alternative to active engagement
Implications for language
• Disadvantages of Third Space approaches
– Challenge existing approaches
• National cultural perspectives
• Target language pedagogies
– Demand innovation from educators
– Adds to disciplinary variety
Implications for language
• Advantages of Third Space approaches
– Provide a theoretical framework with cognative
– Draw together (some) different disciplinary
– Attract researchers and educators from a range of
Implications for language
• Improve academic recognition of ICC
• Pose radical questions without imposing
radical solutions
• Potential for innovative solutions
• Attractive to policy makers
• Connect with a range of pedagogical strategies
Implications for language
• Pedagogy of the Third Space
• Draws on existing work in language education
– Common European Framework of
• Council of Europe
– Concept of Intercultural communicative
• Michael Byram and Geneviève Zarate
Implications for language
• Four dimensions of skill and knowledge:
Being (savoir-être) - ability to understand and
deal with cultural differences without
Learning (savoir-apprendre) - ability to learn
how others live, think, feel and communicate;
Knowing (savoirs) - knowledge of aspects of a
culture, beliefs and reference points likely to be
familiar to natives;
Doing (savoir-faire) - ability to integrate the
other three dimensions and interact successfully
Implications for language
• Intercultural being
– Alison Phipps and Mike Gonzalez
openness to the Other
more inclusive concept of personal identity
willingness to see things in relative
Implications for language
• Long-term aims
Situate language learning in broader context
Improve mutual understanding
Promote respect for difference
Develop capacity to enjoy diversity

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