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Symbolic power and conversational inequality in intercultural communication: An Introduction

Symbolic power and conversational inequality in intercultural communication: An Introduction system, but is always socially and historically located in discourses. Discourses represent political interests and in consequence are constantly vying for status and power. The site of this battle for power is the subjectivity of the individual and it is a battle in which the individual is an active but not sovereign protagonist. (Weedon 1997: 41) By using a post-structuralist discourse approach, we eschew the tendency in intercultural communication studies to essentialize culture and to reduce it to structural, national characteristics. Instead we strive to underscore the subjectivity of meaning-making practices, their relationality and their historical contingency. We explore not only how cultural differences and similarities are discursively constructed in interactions, but how their construction, reproduction and contestation are part of a larger symbolic power game in which we are all imbricated. 1.1 Perpetuated intercultural differences Parties involved in intercultural communication are rarely in an equal power relationship. As Piller (2011: 172) points out, without studying inequality and asking the question `who makes culture relevant to whom in which context for which purposes?', culture is `nothing more than a convenient and lazy explanation'. There are ample examples in which intercultural differences are perpetuated, manipulated, or distorted due to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Review de Gruyter

Symbolic power and conversational inequality in intercultural communication: An Introduction

Applied Linguistics Review , Volume 7 (4) – Nov 1, 2016

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by the
ISSN
1868-6303
eISSN
1868-6311
DOI
10.1515/applirev-2016-0016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

system, but is always socially and historically located in discourses. Discourses represent political interests and in consequence are constantly vying for status and power. The site of this battle for power is the subjectivity of the individual and it is a battle in which the individual is an active but not sovereign protagonist. (Weedon 1997: 41) By using a post-structuralist discourse approach, we eschew the tendency in intercultural communication studies to essentialize culture and to reduce it to structural, national characteristics. Instead we strive to underscore the subjectivity of meaning-making practices, their relationality and their historical contingency. We explore not only how cultural differences and similarities are discursively constructed in interactions, but how their construction, reproduction and contestation are part of a larger symbolic power game in which we are all imbricated. 1.1 Perpetuated intercultural differences Parties involved in intercultural communication are rarely in an equal power relationship. As Piller (2011: 172) points out, without studying inequality and asking the question `who makes culture relevant to whom in which context for which purposes?', culture is `nothing more than a convenient and lazy explanation'. There are ample examples in which intercultural differences are perpetuated, manipulated, or distorted due to

Journal

Applied Linguistics Reviewde Gruyter

Published: Nov 1, 2016

References