Intercultural Dialogue Described

Several years ago I was invited to describe intercultural dialogue for an entry in the International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction; the volume has now appeared. The citation is:

Leeds-Hurwitz, W. (2015). Intercultural dialogue. In K. Tracy, C. Ilie & T. Sandel (Eds.), International encyclopedia of language and social interaction (vol. 2, pp. 860-868). Boston: John Wiley & Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9781118611463/wbielsi061

“Intercultural dialogue (ICD) stands at the nexus of language and social interaction (LSI) and intercultural communication (ICC). Unlike other forms of interaction, ICD assumes participants come from different cultural (ethnic, linguistic, religious) contexts, implying that they will have divergent assumptions about, and rules for, interaction. ICD has been used as a technical term having several quite different meanings. First, ICD may refer to any interaction in which participants have different cultural backgrounds. Encompassing virtually all of ICC, this use may be discarded as too broad and thus not especially helpful. Second, ICD may refer to specific types of intercultural interactions, those in which dialogue serves as a specific goal. That narrower use will be taken as the focus here. Unlike other intercultural interactions, which may include nonverbal and unconscious elements, in this usage ICD typically requires both language and intent, being a deliberate verbal exchange of views. ICDs are designed to achieve understanding of cultural others as an immediate goal, taking the more advanced steps of achieving agreement and cooperation as potential later goals. Given existing cultural diversity, not only within political alliances (such as the European Union) but even within individual countries, today ICD typically is granted considerable value as a practical tool used to prevent or reduce conflict between cultural groups, instead fostering respect and tolerance.Thus it is treated as a potential technique for building or maintaining peace. . . The term ICD has been widely used since the 1980s but less often
directly studied than its significance warrants, thus, it is a concept that is not only available
but that calls out for further research. . . Like all dialogue, ICD is an active, co-constructed creation, requiring the cooperation of participants to engage in potentially new ways of interacting.”

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