Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction

By Ingrid Piller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Approaching Intercultural
Communication

2.1 CHAPTER OBJECTIVES
This chapter will enable you to:
Start thinking about intercultural communication in terms of one central research question: who makes culture relevant to whom in which context for which purposes?
Familiarise yourself with the terms cross-cultural communication, intercultural communication and inter-discourse communication, and identify how the terms are used with different, similar or overlapping meanings in different studies.
Analyse culture-related texts for the uses, content, scope and status of culture.

2.2 INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION: WHAT
IS IT?

‘Intercultural communication’ is one of those terms that everybody uses, and in many different and not necessarily compatible ways. Instead of starting with a definition, I will start with a description of three studies that come under the heading ‘intercultural communication’, and I will ask you to work out for yourself how the researchers who conducted and wrote these studies understand ‘intercultural communication’.

Study 1: Lorenzoni and Lewis (2004) are concerned with the ways in which British and Italian service staff of an airline respond to service failure. Service failure is another term for ‘when something goes wrong’ such as baggage being lost or a customer not being able to get on their

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