The interactive constitution of interculturality: How to be a japanese with words [Book Review]

Human Studies 18 (2-3):301 - 326 (1995)
This paper starts with questioning the traditional approach to the so-called intercultural communication. Most students of intercultural communication, it seems, use the categories characterising a cultural or ethnic identity, such as Western, Indian, European, Aboriginal and the like, as parameters by reference to which some distinctive phenomena observed in conversational materials should be explained. Even though they may apply these categories correctly, they do not take into account the relevancy of these categories in each interaction.The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that being a Japanese is achieved interactively and that interculturality of intercultural communication is constituted in and through the actual course of the interaction. In the analysis of interviews conducted with foreign students in Japan, it can be seen that the interviewer and the interviewee had to keep on coordinating their conduct throughout the development of their interaction in order that they could be a Japanese and a foreigner relevantly. In this way, what, in the studies of intercultural communication, is presupposed to be simply given, that is, the fact of a person being a Japanese or the like, is shown to be analysable and investigable as an interactive phenomenon in its own right.
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