Call for Proposals: 24th Nordic Intercultural Communication Conference: Diversities, mobilities, and cultural identities in the balance; 23-25 November, 2017, Jyväskylä, Finland; Deadline: 25 June, 2017
Human movement and relocation in the 21st century, by choice or in response to human-made or natural disasters, is becoming increasingly common. One outcome of this trend is that many people have become entrenched in, or fallen back onto, defensive lines and discourse as a means to protect their cultural identities. However, engaging dissimilar others–politically, professionally, or personally–from a defensive posture makes productive intercultural interaction and policy making difficult at best, and perhaps unattainable.
This situation poses significant challenges to ongoing peaceful negotiation of cultural identities. In other words, what makes me “me,” you “you,” and us “us”? Whether taken from the perspective of the immigrants, their offspring, host societies, ethnic minorities, or institutional actors operating in the field, the process of identity building and maintenance has always resulted from comparing oneself to “the other,” in seeking out both similarities and differences. It is enhanced or undermined by the stories told within oneself and among friends and compatriots. The process can be productive, mind-expanding, inclusive, and beneficial, just as easily as it can be fraught with contradictions, tension, fear, and reactionary stances.
But who is the owner of a culture or cultural information? Who is allowed to be an “authentic” representative of a culture? When is the assumed nature of a culture–or one’s cultural identity–allowed to evolve and by what means? What is the role of people invested in the field of intercultural communication? What kind of networks, initiatives, best practices, and hopeful ideas can be offered or advanced? How does theoretical insight best intersect with practical challenges?