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CONCEPTUALIZING CULTURE IN INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Roth Juliana
(Munich, Germany)

Abstract: The paper will present some ideas on the concept of culture as it has been introduced and employed in the discipline of Intercultural communication. Intercultural communication is a new academic field of research and teaching with an interdisciplinary basis, derived from cultural anthropology, psychology, interpersonal communication, language teaching and social science. There is an undisputable agreement, that the concept of culture serves as a basic binding between the different views of the disciplines about the relationship between man and society.

The concept of culture was taken into Intercultural communication from cultural anthropology at an early stage. Critics hold that Intercultural Communication has thereby incorporated anthropological views of culture from the pre-globalization era of the 1940s and 50s, concepts shaped by the "island" view which defined cultures as closed, bounded entities with distinct properties shared by their members, that influence all behaviors, perceptions and attitudes. Some interculturalists favor this concept because it facilitates the study of face-to-face interactions between members of different "islands"; much of the literature on intercultural learning rests on the assumption of bounded, separate, internally integrated cultural units of socially acquired and organized knowledge. Anthropologists have justly criticized interculturalists for "recycling" outdated anthropological knowledge. The objective of the presentation will be to take a fresh look at the concept of culture as it is employed in the different schools of the discipline today.

 
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