In (2016)

In this chapter I adopt an interdisciplinary approach in the form of a philosophical investigation into the epistemological assumptions of the concept of competence and the ethical implications for intercultural dialogue. I intend to argue that the notion ofculture represents an ‘essentialist trap’ that fails to account for the complexity that characterises intercultural exchanges. Thus, in this paper I shift the focus from culture to the ‘inter’ of the intercultural, indicating the process of interaction in communication. From this perspective, I illustrate the notion of promise and I introduce the metaphor of the promise of understanding to critique the epistemological underpinnings of the notion of intercultural competence as it is presented in two frameworks that are paradigmatic of current thinking in intercultural research: the pyramid model and the ICOPROMO project. Through this critique, I introduce the idea of a deferred promise of understanding as a guiding principle for intercultural communication.
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