Intercultural communication can be defined as the study of cultural identity, difference and similarity as constructed through discourse, i.e. different ways of speaking, writing, and other forms of social action. In the ever-changing world defined by restructuring of economic, social and cultural relations, transnational migration, tourism, overseas studies, and global media, more and more people from different backgrounds come into contact with one another. Their communication faces many challenges which include the linguistic challenges of language learning, the discursive challenges of stereotyping and the social challenges of equal work opportunities, inclusion and justice. This course provides a critical understanding of intercultural communication from discourse analytic and sociolinguistic perspectives and demonstrates how people in different situations of intercultural contact position themselves linguistically and discursively, and how the linguistic codes and varieties they speak and write give them access (or not) to different resources such as mobility, educational opportunities, jobs, and so on. We examine the notions of ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’ in the context of ethno-cultural stereotyping, discrimination, exclusion and exploitation. Throughout the course, we will reflect on the underlying language ideologies (i.e. assumptions and beliefs about language) that normalise and naturalise the views we hold of ourselves and other people. We ask to what extent we can assume culture to be synonymous with language and nation, and how acts of intercultural communication are performed or represented in different domains such as international business, marketing, and interpersonal relations.
This course offers a comprehensive, contemporary and critical introduction to the field of intercultural communication from the perspectives of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and the neighbouring disciplines of anthropological linguistics and multilingualism. It aims to raise students’ awareness of the cultural differences and inequalities in the contemporary world and to equip them with theoretical and analytic skills to discuss these issues orally and in writing.
Language and culture
Language and non-verbal communication
Language and identity
Nation and culture
Intercultural communication at work
Intercultural communication in marketing
Intercultural communication and exclusion
Intercultural communication in a multilingual world
The course is comprised of weekly lectures and tutorials.
Assessment is by 100% coursework, consisting of:
- Tutorials and in-class participation (20%)
- Mid-term test (30%)
- Final essay (50%)
A list of primary and recommended readings will be provided.