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Conference Hosted
Prof Arnd Witte
2019
September
Intercultural Competence: A Concept in Need of Rethinking?
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Intercultural Competence
Over the past decades, the concept of intercultural competence has become an increasingly relevant construct for foreign-language teaching/learning, as well as for cognate disciplines such as pedagogy, psychology, anthropology, cultural studies, business management and others. This diversification of its use has rendered the concept of IC almost meaningless. It often appears to be an empty signifier if not used in specific contexts. The concept of culture used in the IC discourse has been criticized for its inherent tendency to reduce, essentialise, homogenise and typify cultural configurations that factually have the tendency to elude such simplifying approaches. Definitions of culture and IC either place emphasis on structure or on process (or a combination of the two). If culture is conceptualized as a process (‘culture is a verb’) the problem of essence disappears but culture is then located in an individual and collective action field which is too complex to be defined in the abstract.
Maynooth University
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