Cultural relativism and the discourse of intercultural communication : aporias of praxis in the intercultural public sphere

Article English OPEN
O'Regan, John P. ; MacDonald, Malcolm (2007)
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.2167/laic287.0
  • Subject: HM | GN | Cultural studies , Language

The premise of much intercultural communication pedagogy and research is to educate people from different cultures towards open and transformative positions of mutual understanding and respect. This discourse in the instance of its articulation realises and sustains Intercultural Communication epistemologically – as an academic field of social enquiry, and judgementally – as one which locates itself on a moral terrain. By adopting an ethical stance towards difference, the discourse of intercultural communication finds itself caught in a series of aporias, or performative contradictions, where interculturalists are projected simultaneously into positions of cultural relativism on the one hand and ideological totalism on the other. Such aporias arise because the theoretical premises upon which the discourse relies are problematic. We trace these thematics to a politics of presence operating within the discourse of intercultural communication and links this to questions of judgement and truth in the intercultural public sphere. We propose that the politics of presence be set aside in favour of an intercultural praxis which is oriented to responsibility rather than to truth.
  • References (59)
    59 references, page 1 of 6

    Adorno, T. W. (1973). Negative Dialectics. New York: Continuum.

    Adorno, T. W. (1978). Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life. London: Verso.

    Atay, D. (2005). Reflections on the Cultural Dimension of Language Teaching. Language and Intercultural Communication, 5(3&4), 222-236.

    Belz, J. A. (2005). Intercultural Questioning, Discovery and Tension in Internet-Mediated Language Learning Partnerships. Language and Intercultural Communication, 5(1), 3-39.

    Bielsa, E. (2005). Globalisation and Translation. Language and Intercultural Communication, 5(2), 131-144.

    Byram, M. and Zarate, G. (eds.) (1997). The Sociocultural and Intercultural Dimension of Language Learning and Teaching. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

    Cheng, W., & Warren, M. (2006). // You Need to Be Ruthless //: Entertaining Cross-Cultural Differences. Language and Intercultural Communication, 6(1), 35-56.

    Cools, C. (2006). Relational Communication in Intercultural Couples. Language and Intercultural Communication, 6(3&4), 262-285.

    Crawshaw, R., Callan, B., & Tusting, K. (2001). Attesting the Self: Narration and Identity Change During Periods of Residency Abroad. Language and Intercultural Communication, 1(2), 101-119.

    Critchley, S. (1999). Ethics, Politics, Subjectivity: Essays on Derrida, Levinas and Contemporary French Thought. London: Verso.

  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark