Mangano, M. F. (2018). Relationship as a space “in between”: A transcultural and transdisciplinary approach mediated by dialogue in academic teaching. Bergamo, Italy: University of Bergamo Press.
What is special and uncommon about Maria Flora Mangano’s research is her clear focus on dialogue as a space of relationship. Often intercultural dialogue has been viewed as occurring at the global, international level, typically involving politicians. Maria Flora is one of a very few scholars to become interested in how intercultural dialogues occur within face-to-face interactions, thus at a more personal level. Dialogue more easily develops among those who have already succeeded in establishing a relationship, rather than between strangers.
The metaphor of creating a social space in which dialogue can occur is not unique to Maria Flora, but it is uniquely appropriate to her concerns. The data which form the body of the project demonstrate praxis – in this case, her actual teaching experience, where she creates a space of relationship in the classroom, permitting dialogue to occur. This should encourage others to follow where she has led, since sufficient details are provided which others can immediately use.
In sum, Maria Flora Mangano not only studies dialogue, she demonstrates it in a way others can easily follow. And her theoretical argument clearly explains why they should do so. As the conclusion suggests: “dialogue needs relationship to be realized, and, at the same time, dialogue creates relationship” (p. xiv). May we all learn to create a space for dialogue in our relationships.
Maria Flora Mangano has frequently been mentioned on this site, contributing a number of publications (Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 81 on dialogue as a space of relationship, Constructing Intercultural Dialogues, 2 on reconciliation, and CICD 9 on intercultural dialogue as an activity of daily living), translations into Italian (KC1, KC14, KC37, KC81, CICD 2), and guest posts (A space of relationship for dialogue among cultures, and Example of dialogue among cultures).
NOTE: This post is a shortened version of my Foreword to this book, appearing on pp. v-vi.