Mediation through an Intercultural Communication Lens

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The article examines intercultural communication theory for the purpose of considering to what extent this theory may be useful to mediation practitioners and researchers. Early theory associated with Hall (1959, 1976) and Hofstede (2003/1991) which posits cultural differences associated with national groups has been very influential in intercultural training, including training for mediators. A second area of theorization is prescriptive. This includes two very different but related approaches: theorization about intercultural competence, and social justice approaches. The uses and drawbacks of Hofstedian and prescriptive approaches for mediators are considered. Two further intercultural communication theories are explored. ‘Small culture’ (Holliday 1999) is about the developing norms and practices in a possibly ephemeral group. Intercultural discursive practice (Zhu Hua 2015) comprises two key areas: examining how participants in an interaction ascribe cultural categories to one another, and how they negotiate cultural matters. It is proposed that ‘small culture’ and intercultural discursive approaches could be productive for culture-focussed mediation researchers as well as useful for trainers and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalMediation Theory and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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