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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Approximations of Social Reality as Interpretations of Culture in Intercultural Communication: Extending a Framework of Analysis

Nair-Venugopal Shanta.

This paper presents a framework of analysis for Intercultural Communication that foregrounds the individual as a social actor, the stranger rather than the ‘cultural other’ or exotic ethnie. It offers a more eclectic and elastic view of the influence or role of culture in intercultural encounters by rooting communication firmly in social interaction. It takes into account and explains how a number of factors mediate the effects of the cultural principle and cultural variability, such as the role of language in constructing identity, as multiple agencies, and reality, as fluid potentialities, rather than fixed options in intercultural encounters. The aim is to liberate Intercultural Communication from the more dominant maximalist views of culture that have tended to monopolise the discourse and the rhetoric on Intercultural Communication, and thus offer less constrained ways of understanding what is basically communication between individuals who may or may not display cultural asymmetry.


Nair-Venugopal Shanta  (Malaysia)
Senior Lecturer in Language and Communication
School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Dr. Shanta Nair-Venugopal is an associate professor in the School of Language Studies and Linguistics in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia with a PhD from the Centre for Language and Communication, University of Wales, Cardiff. She is the author of Language Choice and Communication in Malaysian Business (Universiti Kebangsaan Press), and joint editor of Language and Globalisation (Pearson Education Malaysia). Her work has also been published as chapters in books, and in international journals such as the RELC Anthology Series (Singapore), World Englishes, Asian Englishes (forthcoming), The International Journal of the Sociology of Language, and Language and Intercultural Communication. Her research interests continue to remain firmly rooted in intercultural discourse and communication. She is currently working on reframing identities in intercultural communication.

  • Framework of analysis
  • Intercultural communication
  • Culture
  • Approximations
  • Language
  • Identity

(30 min Conference Paper, English)