Pema’s Tale: Intercultural Communication as Storytelling

Ellen Rose

Abstract


Intercultural communication is typically conceptualized in terms of business-oriented models that focus on the binary differences between cultural groups. Beginning with Edward Hall, the foundational premise is that the basis of effective communication with people of cultures other than our own is a thorough understanding of the disparities between cultural groups. This paper argues that intercultural communication should entail not merely the business-like, efficient exchange of information with different others but the crucial development of a feeling of connection and an appreciation for diverse ways of being in the world. Building upon the work of Jerome Bruner, it further suggests that the focus on dissimilarities which traditional models enforce obscures a true understanding of how intercultural communications can be enabled by a fundamental similarity: the human impulse to make sense of the world through narrative.

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