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Communication Intercultural Communication
Ling Chen
  • LAST REVIEWED: 18 July 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0038


Scholars study intercultural communication as a process of interaction between culture and communication, an area quite interdisciplinary in nature. Cognizant of the role of culture in communication, a major interest is cross-cultural comparison of communication practices and patterns as integral parts of human activities. Scholars view culture as a human phenomenon, and specific cultures or subcultures as social entities, and they attempt to identify commonality in the formation and components of culture, and to uncover various manifestations of culture in different contexts at all levels, from the individual to organizational, national, and global. They study ways communication reflects, constitutes, and changes a culture and cultural institutions. Another interest is how communication proceeds between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, at both individual and group levels, how culture interplays with social dominance and intercultural awareness, and how to mitigate adverse effects.


Intercultural communication textbooks provide an overview and explicate the fundamentals of intercultural communication. In keeping with the interdisciplinary interests in this subject and its wide spread relevance to contemporary societies, a prevalent form of textbook is the “edited reader,” which contains original works and essays on different aspects of the subject. Textbooks may differ in epistemological and ontological approach, but rarely does one book rely exclusively on one perspective.

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