Researching intercultural communication

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In this chapter key sociological traditions forming the theoretical backdrop of current discourse-based approaches to intercultural communication research will be discussed and John Gumperz’s contribution to highlighting the interactional nature of everyday communication and language use will be outlined. Then I shall introduce the central thesis of this chapter: that discourse-based approaches to intercultural communication provide helpful frameworks for understanding how power is fluid and mediated through discourse and meaning-making, and how different social actors located in differential, hierarchical social positions, and coming from different cultural backgrounds, can negotiate through discourse for more advantageous positions for themselves. This thesis will then be delineated through drawing on positioning theory, (Davies and Harré, 1990; Harré and Langenhove, 1999), a discourse-based social identity theory, to analyse two examples of intercultural/inter-group communication.


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