Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication:

Paradigms, Principles, & Practice

Milton J. Bennett, Ph.D.

Chapter Outline

PART I: Contemporary Text

1) Framing Intercultural Communication

  1. a)  Introduction
    1. i)  Why Intercultural Communication Matters
    2. ii)  Overview and relationship to Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication:Selected Readings
  2. b)  Definitions & Scope

i) Objective and Subjective culture ii) Terminology
iii) Levels of analysis
iv) Levels of abstraction

c) Conceptual Focus
i) Constructivist communication ii) Embodiedexperience

2) A Paradigmatic History

  1. a)  Positivism and the Hierarchy of Civilization
    1. i)  Newtonian paradigm (1) Newton’s physics (2) Comte’s positivism (3) Social Darwinism
    2. ii)  Implications of positivism for intercultural theory (1) Culture is epiphenomenal
      (2) Culture is reified
      (3) Culture is personalized
    3. iii)  Implications of positivism for intercultural practice (1) Area studies
      (2) Do’s & don’ts
      (3) Behaviorist learning
  2. b)  Relativism and Cultural Systems
    1. i)  Einsteinian paradigm(1) Systems theory(2) Post-modernism
    2. ii)  Implications of relativism for intercultural theory(1) Cultural relativity
      (2) Linguistic relativism
      (3) The “silent language” of intercultural communication
    3. iii)  Implications of relativism for intercultural practice (1) Creating awareness of perspective
      (2) Paradigmatic confusion

c) Constructivism and Intercultural Adaptation

  1. i)  Quantum paradigm(1) Observer/observed interaction(2) Radical constructivism
  2. ii)  Implications of constructivism for intercultural theory(1) Dynamic worldview(2) Embodiment
  3. iii)  Implications for constructivism for intercultural practice(1) Self-reflexivity
    (2) Intercultural empathy
  1. 3)  Cultural Context and Interaction
    1. a)  Contextual awareness
      1. i)  Boundary conditions of culture
      2. ii)  Generalizations and stereotypes

      iii) Cultural self-awareness & identity

    2. b)  Interaction analysis
      1. i)  Language use
      2. ii)  Nonverbal communication behavior
      3. iii)  Communication style
      4. iv)  Perceptual/cognitive style
      5. v)  Cultural assumptions and values
  2. 4)  Intercultural Adaptation
    1. a)  Developing intercultural sensitivity
      1. i)  The ethnocentric positions(1) Denial
        (2) Defense
        (3) Minimization
      2. ii)  Theethnorelativepositions (1) Acceptance
        (2) Adaptation
        (3) Integration
    2. b)  Resolving developmental issues
      (1) Recognizing simple diversity
      (2) Establishing common humanity
      (3) Generating self-awareness; resolving unity & diversity (4) Moving to contextual ethicality
      (5) Resolving adaptation to difference & authenticity
      (6) Resolving integration of difference & integrity
  3. 5)  Intercultural Practices

a) International/Multicultural Education

  1. i)  The value of intercultural communication in higher education
  2. ii)  Linking intercultural communication to traditional liberal arts education(1) The emphasis on multiple disciplinary perspectives

(2) The emphasis on critical thinking

(3) The emphasis on ethical action

  1. b)  International Exchange and Study Abroad
    1. i)  Turning cross-cultural contact into intercultural learning (1) Strengths and limits of contact
      (2) Intercultural learning
    2. ii)  Measuring intercultural learning
    3. iii)  Intercultural education(1) Resolving Denial and Defense in pre-departure programs (2) Moving beyond Minimization in study abroad
      (3) Fostering Acceptance and Adaptation on-site
      (4) Using re-entry programming to establish Integration
  2. c)  Global business management/leadership
    1. i)  The intercultural mindset(1) Investing in intercultural communication(2) Everywhere is Rome
    2. ii)  Theinterculturalskillset(1) Focus on worldview experience
      (2) Using cultural generalizations, avoiding cultural stereotypes (3) Leveraging learning with culture-general frameworks
      (4) Creating strategies for mutual adaptation
    3. iii)  Developing intercultural sensitivity (1) The disinterest of Denial
      (2) The destructiveness of Defense (3) The small world of Minimization (4) Self-referential Acceptance(5) Perspective-taking in Adaptation(6) Creative Integration
    4. iv)  Conclusion

PART II: Classic Readings

  1. Whorf, Science & Linguistics (10pp)
  2. Hall, Hidden Differences (14pp)
  3. Singer, Perceptual Approach (12pp)
  4. Stewart, Cultural Values (15pp)
  5. Barnlund, Global Village (16pp)
  6. Barna, Stumbling Blocks (16pp)
  7. Bennett, Empathy/Sympathy (23pp)
  8. Adler, Cultural Identity (20pp)

Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication:

Paradigms, Principles, & Practice
Chapter Outline


Milton J. Bennett, Ph.D.