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Rezension: Intercultural Competence: Concepts, Challenges, Evaluations

Zotzmann, Karin (2023)
Rezension: Intercultural Competence: Concepts, Challenges, Evaluations.
In: Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht : ZIF, 2013, 18 (1)
doi: 10.26083/tuprints-00012709
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Item Type: Article
Type of entry: Secondary publication
Title: Rezension: Intercultural Competence: Concepts, Challenges, Evaluations
Language: English
Date: 2023
Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Year of primary publication: 2013
Publisher: Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt
Journal or Publication Title: Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht : ZIF
Volume of the journal: 18
Issue Number: 1
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00012709
Corresponding Links:
Origin: Secondary publication from TUjournals

The book Intercultural Competence: Concepts, Challenges, Evaluations, edited by Witte and Harden, is a selection of twenty-seven papers that were presented at an international conference of same name, held at the National Uni- versity of Ireland in Maynooth, in September 2010. The collection contains a diverse range of contributions that share a common concern with the nature and acquisition of intercultural competence from a range of different theo- retical perspectives and, in the case of reports on empirically based investigations, diverse contexts of application. Edited collections, however, particularly those which are based on conference presentations, constitute a rather difficult genre as the contributions might be quite disparate. This is not the case for Witte and Harden’s publication who identify in the introduction a central message that the book conveys, and four common themes - ‘theoretical perspectives’, ‘institutional contexts’, ‘target cultures’ and the ‘role of literature’ - that tie the chapters together. To them, intercultural competence is a very important educational concept, but at the same time diffuse, ambiguous and often used without conceptual clarification. The editors make their position clear: they refute, in the first instance, the structuralist and essentialist idea of a set of national cultural traits and values bound up with a specific, allegedly unchanging, language. Instead, they emphasize the performative character of meaning-making processes: culture is defined here not in terms of what it supposedly is but by what it does (see Street 1993: 23), a view that runs through the entire volume. Intercultural competence is broadly envisaged as the ability to negotiate a third space for oneself, a spatial metaphor that draws attention to the ongoing processes of negotiation, translation, reflection and enuncia- tion that characterize the engagement with different languages, discourses, social practices and values. This view goes beyond pragmatic and rather narrow definitions of intercultural competence as the ability to get things done in highly diverse contexts, and involves the whole person, including one's habits and habitus, biographical background, and experiences, values and attitudes. Intercultural competence can therefore not be described in a universally valid manner but is highly dependent on the contexts and participants involved. As a result, Witte and Harden stress the need for empirical investigations on the actual performance of real-world speakers in real-world contexts and situa- tions. Many of the empirical studies in this collection reflect this commitment.

Status: Publisher's Version
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-127091
Classification DDC: 400 Language > 400 Language, linguistics
Divisions: 02 Department of History and Social Science > Institut für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > Sprachwissenschaft - Mehrsprachigkeit
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 17:04
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 17:14
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/12709
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