Dominic Busch is a Professor of Intercultural Communication and Conflict Research at Universität der Bundeswehr München, Germany. He received his doctorate in 2005 at Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. From 2006 to 2011 he was a Junior Professor in Intercultural Communication at Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder).
In his research on intercultural communication, he explores the epistemological, ontological, and axiological premises of how intercultural communication is approached from an academic angle. To this end, he takes the perspective of discourse analysis. While research on intercultural communication often has strong disagreements between different paradigms, the minimum common ground is that culture and intercultural communication are talked about in both academia and in Western societies’ everyday life. Culture and intercultural communication are thus objects of discourse, and thus first and foremost discursive constructions. Several characteristics of the field of intercultural communication can be observed on the basis of this assumption:
Both everyday discourses and academic discourses around intercultural communication constitute themselves in such a way that their object never ceases to be perpetuated and never disappears – even if this might actually represent a plausible goal of dealing with it. Discourses are shaped by power structures and hegemonies, and this is how core understandings of intercultural communication emerge. Their permanent self-preservation can also be described by the phenomenon of the dispositive after Michel Foucault, as Dominic Busch shows in his 2013 book. Discourse on intercultural communication fabricates problems for which, at the same time, it always provides only partial solutions. Even the strongest paradigm shift cannot overcome this, but will always only reinforce the dispositive.
At the same time, the discourse on intercultural communication is never void of interests, and research is never strictly heuristic: the study of intercultural communication is always based on societies’ aspirations of an ideal coexistence. The perceptions of problems are impossible without visions of how things should actually be better. Visions, however, traditionally do not have a seat in social science research; they are often regarded as unscientific. However, we cannot really understand how research questions are framed and how studies in this field are arranged if authors and readers would not share ideals about how to deal with interculturality, ideals that are only subtly expressed in the texts.
In his research, Dominic Busch aims to show how research on intercultural communication seeks to deal with this dilemma. To this end, it is first necessary to uncover and identify the normative ideas on how to deal with interculturality – which can also be referred to as visions. Based on a discourse analysis of academic texts on intercultural communication over a period of 50 years, Dominic Busch shows in his article “The Changing Discourse of Intercultural Ethics” how these orientations change over time. Instead of a linear development, these re-orientations have been rather circular. Only in recent times a parallel diversification of different orientations in intercultural writings can be observed – along with a new disorientation and open search in an increasingly complex world, questioning old paradigms more and more.
A comparison with overarching social science paradigms and epistemologies, however, reveals how dominant these ethical orientations are. Social research is debating the implementation of post-qualitative research methods with the aim of avoiding exerting epistemic violence through research. This should involve authors reflecting more on their own positionality and instead of researching their partners, they should give voice to these partners themselves. In their article “New Methodologies – New Interculturalities?” Dominic Busch and Emilian Franco explore how papers in the research field of intercultural communication manage these issues by using new methods such as participatory research, autoethnography, and arts-based research. From a critical point of view, Busch and Franco find that many studies often do not really meet the standards of such methodologies. However, Busch and Franco show that, seen as parts of an ethical discourse on interculturality, these new methods serve as a basis for authors’ ethical and visionary reflections on a desirable way of dealing with interculturality.
Intercultural mediation is a powerful example of this visionary orientation in discourses on intercultural communication. A great many different disciplines share some interest in intercultural mediation: These include, for example, cultural anthropology, translation research, foreign language didactics, and political science research on international relations, in addition to research on intercultural communication and conflict management. Upon closer examination, these disciplines often conceive of intercultural mediation in very different ways. However, there is one common vision that unites them: that constructive pathways to intercultural understanding will always exist. This is reason enough from an ethical point of view to further promote and develop such fields of research. The Routledge Handbook of Intercultural Mediation by Dominic Busch provides an insight into this interdisciplinary field and its potentials.
Discourse analysis should therefore not be seen only as criticism, but always as a constructive prospect for development. Even more, the insight into the constructivist character of notions of cultures may open the opportunity (and the responsibility) to encourage forms of intercultural dialogue on a local and on a global level to discuss and to define notions of how positive (intercultural) coexistence may be designed. In these respects, Dominic Busch explores the potential of concepts like intercultural sustainability as well as contributions from cosmopolitanism to intercultural dialogue.
For more detailed information as well as a list of German language publications please visit Dominic Busch’s website.
Selected publications in English:
Busch, D. (Ed.). (2023). The Routledge handbook of intercultural mediation. New York: Routledge.
Busch, D., & Franco, E. (2022). New methodologies—New interculturalities? The visionary discourse of post-qualitative research on the intercultural. Language and Intercultural Communication, 1–13. DOI: 10.1080/14708477.2022.2133136.
Busch, D. (2021). The changing discourse of intercultural ethics: A diachronic meta-analysis. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 16(3), 189–202. DOI: 10.1080/17447143.2020.1803887.
Busch, D. (2019). Intercultural conflict mediation. In P. Moy (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies in communication. New York: Oxford University Press.
Busch, D., & Möller-Kiero, J. (2017). Sustainability and ethnic peace discourse: In search for synergies from bringing together discourses on intercultural communication and on global sustainability. ESSACHESS: Journal for Communication Studies, 10(1), 217-237.
Busch, D. (2016). Does conflict mediation research keep track with cultural theory? A theory-based qualitative content analysis on concepts of culture in conflict management research. European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 181-207.
Busch, D., & Möller-Kiero, J. (2016). Rethinking interculturality will require moral confessions: Analysing the debate among convivialists, interculturalists, cosmopolitanists and intercultural communication scholars. Interculture Journal, 15(26), 43-57.
Busch, D. (2015). Conflict Management in Organizations. In A. D. Smith, X. Hou, J. Stone, R. Dennis, & P. Rizova (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of race, ethnicity, and nationalism (pp. 1–5). John Wiley & Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9781118663202.wberen340.
Busch, D. (2015). Culture is leaving conversation analysis, but is it really gone? The analysis of culturalist performances in conversation. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 39, 1-17.
Busch, D. (2015). Mediation. In J. M. Bennett (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of intercultural competence (pp. 608–611). Sage. DOI: 10.4135/9781483346267.n199.
Busch, D. (2012). Cultural theory and conflict management in organizations: How does theory shape our understanding of culture in practice? International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 12(1), 9–24. DOI: 10.1177/1470595811413106.
Busch, D. (2010). Shopping in hospitality: Situational constructions of customer–vendor relationships among shopping tourists at a bazaar on the German–Polish border. Language and Intercultural Communication, 10(1), 72–89. DOI: 10.1080/14708470903452614.
Busch, D. (2009). What kind of intercultural competence will contribute to students’ future job employability? Intercultural Education, 20(5), 429–438. DOI: 10.1080/14675980903371290.
Work for CID:
Dominic Busch has written a guest post, Some Observations on Internal Social Discourses on the Recent Increase of Refugee Immigration into Germany, as well as KC76: Intercultural Sustainability and KC106: Intercultural Medication. He has translated KC1: Intercultural Dialogue, KC2: Cosmopolitanism, KC76: Intercultural Sustainability, and KC106: Intercultural Mediation into German. He also frequently reviews translations into German.