Call for Papers
European Society for Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Dialogue
4th ESTIDIA Conference
Dialogues without Borders: Strategies of Interpersonal and Inter-group Communication
29-30 September 2017
Faculty of Philosophy
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”
in partnership with
Institute of Rhetoric and Communications, Sofia
Centre for New Media and Transdisciplinary Dialogue, Constanţa
The 4th ESTIDIA conference, to be held on 29-30 September, 2017, is hosted by Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the oldest higher education institution in Bulgaria, founded in 1888, which has been consistently ranked as the top university in the country according to national and international rankings. The conference serves as a discussion forum for researchers and practitioners to showcase their dialogue-oriented work on current societal and community-related issues, and on methodological approaches to dialogue and strategies of interpersonal and inter-group Communication. The aim is to bring together senior and junior scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and professional orientations to critically explore, through dialogue, different perspectives on human thinking, communication strategies, interpersonal relations, socio-cultural traditions, political processes and business interactions by means of theory-based and practice-driven investigations.
Most of the world’s population – and Europe is a case in point – lives in contexts that are becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural. Travel across national boundaries is becoming an everyday activity for many, and new technologies allow individuals to communicate easily and cheaply across such boundaries, even if they stay at home. Meanwhile, hostilities between ethnic, national, religious, and other groups do not seem to be decreasing, but on the contrary, are being kindled by extremist groups and totalitarian leaders. To oppose, prevent and do away with such negative and dangerous developments in the 21st century, it is more important than ever to acquire an in-depth and nuanced understanding of how individuals communicate based on group or community memberships, and how communication allows or encourages group segregation and isolationist tendencies. It is languages – verbal language, sign language, body language – that constitute the basic channels of communication through which group stereotypes can be tolerated, changed, and/or resisted.
While the dynamics of interpersonal and intergroup relations has been a recurrent topic in several disciplines, such as psychology, social psychology (Tajfel 1978, 1982; Haslam et al 1998; Bar-Tal 2000) and political science (Sherif 1966; Pennebaker et al. 1997; Sidanius & Pratto 2001), research on communication and miscommunication in interpersonal and intergroup interaction has been conducted primarily within the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics anthropology, rhetoric and communication studies (Hymes 1964; Gumperz 1971; Gudykunst 1998; Gudykunst & Mody 2002; Giles 2012; Berger 2014). A major advantage of these research strands lies in their intergroup perspective that considers people not only as individuals, but also as members of social groups (in terms of e.g., gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, region), and investigates the ways in which various social group memberships relate to the way that we communicate with each other.
A major goal of this conference is to bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in sharing their expertise and in discussing and comparing their extensive empirical and theoretical findings, so as to achieve a synergy and a cross-fertilisation of perspectives and approaches that highlight the role of communication practices in dealing with challenging situations emerging in interpersonal and intergroup encounters in 21st century societies.