Intercultural communication refers to communication that takes place under conditions of cultural overlap. These actors can be individuals, social groups, organizations, communities, societies or states. Differences in communication are often dependent on cultural standards, which describe characteristic features of cultures from the perspective of another culture. Misunderstandings can arise from different interpretations of the paraverbal and non-verbal forms of communication in the respective cultures. These are expressed in ways of expression, presentation and behavior such as volume, tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and distance from the conversation partner. In the context of intercultural communication, prejudices can arise if the participants apply their own cultural interpretation system without reflection, that is, without being aware of it. Due to the fundamental attribution error , such interpretation systems can lead to the formation of stereotypes. These do not necessarily have a negative connotation, but can lead to problems with communication and ultimately lead to prejudice. These must be avoided at all costs as they encourage discrimination against people and groups.
Due to increasing globalization, intercultural communication is becoming increasingly important as part of it. In addition, phenomena such as the global division of labor and mobility, increasing freedom of travel and mass tourism , as well as international communication through the Internet, for example, lead to more and more contacts between people from different cultures. In order to understand the cultural other, it is necessary to overcome ethnocentrism .
Culture as an orientation system in communication
A. Thomas defined culture under this aspect as a system of orientation that is typical for a society or a group. This system influences the perception and thinking of the members and thus creates independent ideas for coping with the environment. In doing so, it also indicates patterns of action and approaches to interpreting behavior during communication.
Fields of application and promotion of intercultural skills
In the age of globalization, it is essential to promote intercultural skills in many areas of life. Intercultural competence is understood as the ability to interact sensitively with interlocutors and to be able to be aware of cultural differences in order to avoid misunderstandings. Above all, this involves adopting perspectives from the interlocutor from another culture. This funding is used in the following areas:
- Training for company staff in preparation for a stay abroad. Especially to reduce the drop-out rate for the stay. This training can either be culturally general, i.e. a standardized sensitization for any culture, or culture-specific, i.e. for a very specific culture.
- Foreign language teaching. Above all, this should not only stimulate discussion with native speakers, but also include intercultural dialogues. Clarifying different understandings of terms can be particularly helpful.
- Student exchange programs, international youth exchanges. A preparatory seminar for a better understanding of the foreign culture and one's own culture can support the communication of the participants during the program.
- Integration work. Supporting migrants to learn the language is the top priority, but courses on culture or history and role-play for everyday situations could also help to establish integration faster and better and thus facilitate interaction with locals.
Transculturality and multicollectivity
In order to do justice to the changed structure of cultures, Wolfgang Welsch proposed a revision of the concept of culture in 1992 and developed the concept of “ transculturality ”, which should replace the traditional definition of culture.
Welsch shows that cultures today are no longer homogeneous internally and no longer clearly separated and delimited externally. Rather, they permeate each other and are characterized by mixtures. "Transculturality" no longer imagines cultures as spheres, but as meshes. This corresponds more to the realities to be found today, because contemporary cultures are on the one hand strongly connected and intertwined with one another externally, while increasing hybridization is taking place internally.
In intercultural practice and intercultural training, it is now taken into account that there is not only a diversity of cultures in society as a whole, but that the individual also unites several cultures: It is assumed that everyone is multicollectivity . In view of the multiple differences that exist within modern societies, the concept of superdiversity was introduced.
|university||Name of the course||graduation||Normal period
|Chemnitz University of Technology||Intercultural communication||BA / MA||6/4|
|University of Munich||Intercultural communication and cooperation||MA||5|
|LMU Munich||Intercultural communication||MA||4th|
|University of Cologne||Intercultural communication and education||MA||4th|
|Saarland University||Intercultural communication||MA||4th|
In addition, there are around 40 courses in Germany that are not called Intercultural Communication , but belong to this subject. The University Association for Intercultural Studies (IKS) has over 100 members from around 40 universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
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- Arjan Verdooren: Taking Multiplicity Seriously: Towards new Approaches for Intercultural practitioners. Taking Diversity Seriously: New Approaches for Intercultural Practitioners. In: interculture journal 13/23. 2014, accessed on April 26, 2020 (English): “[…] people, depending on their class- or political position for instance, can take up very different positions within their national culture. [...] multicollectivity . Can be Assumed in any human being " 20. Translated:" People can, depending on the class-related or political position, for example, be very different Posi Tinen within their culture. [...] it can be assumed that there is a multicollectivity in every person. "
- Arjan Verdooren: Taking Multiplicity Seriously: Towards new Approaches for Intercultural practitioners. Taking Diversity Seriously: New Approaches for Intercultural Practitioners. In: interculture journal 13/23. 2014, accessed on April 26, 2020 (English): "In reality, the differences in generation, education and socio-economic position between and within communities have urged many leading researchers of integration and multiculturalism to speak of" superdiversity "(Vertovec 2006, Blommaerts 2011, Prins 2013, Crul 2013). " P. 20. Translated:" Indeed, given the differences that exist in generation, education or socio-economic position within and between social groups, leading researchers on integration and Multiculturalism is seen as compelled to speak of “superdiversity” (Vertovec 2006, Blommaerts 2011, Prins 2013, Crul 2013).
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