Howard Giles Profile

ProfilesHowie Giles, past Head of Psychology and Chair of Social Psychology at the University of Bristol, England, has been Professor of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara (with affiliations with Linguistics and Psychology) since 1989.  He is a Charter Fellow of the Intercultural Academy and elected Fellow of other Associations in Psychology, Communication, and Gerontology.


Giles has worked in language, intercultural, interpersonal, health, lifespan, and media arenas, with intergroup communication being his umbrella identification; the other subfields are subtended by this.  In this regard, he was editor of the 2012 Handbook of Intergroup Communication and with Jake Harwood is co-editor of the upcoming Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Intergroup Communication.  With Antonis Agardiki, he will be co-convening the 1st International Symposium on Intergroup Communication in Thessaloniki in June 2017.  Giles is currently Chair of the International Communication Association’s Intergroup Communication Interest Group which he founded with Scott Reid in 2003, and was co-founder with Peter Robinson of the International Conferences on Language and Social Psychology (ICLASP); the 15th ICLASP will occur in Bangkok in 2016.

Conducting cross-cultural research across dozens of nations and ethnic communities around the world, Giles has worked in an array of intercultural settings, including between-gender, interability, interethnic, intergenerational, police-community, and gay-straight relations.  Within these, for example, he has explored language attitudes, ethnic identity, tourism, acculturation, and successful aging.  Among the research questions he has posed are:

•    How when, and why do we mark our many social identities via language and communicative practices – and how transactively doing so sustains, reshapes these very same identities?

•    How do we age successfully as well as possibly unsuccessfully from different cultures’ standpoints, and how can communication be empowering or disempowering in these regards?

An integrative framework across these domains has been Communication Accommodation Theory, being its architect in the early 1970s (see Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, #48).   Giles has recently been working to inject the salience of “culture” into intergroup theory and was editor of the “Intergroup and Intercultural” section of the International Encyclopedia of Communication (2008-).  Elected Past President of the International Communication Association and the International Association for Language and Social Psychology, Giles is founding/current Editor of the Journal of Language and Social Psychology (1981-) and the Journal of Asian Pacific Communication (1990-) as well as elected Editor of Human Communication Research (1995-98.  He is also General Editor for Peter Lang Publishers of a book series entitled, ”Language as Social Action.”

Giles spent much of his “leisure” time as a Reserve Detective Lieutenant in the Santa Barbara Police Department.  He did this for 15 years and was the recipient of over a dozen outstanding service awards.  This experience fueled his interest in researching police-community relations which is currently a very hot topic in the American media and public discourse.

It is possible to download his vita, or send him an e-mail.

Work for CID:
Howie Giles wrote KC48: Communication Accommodation Theory.

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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