Reconstructing the participants’ treatments of ‘interculturality’: Variations in data and methodologies

Junko Mori

Abstract

This commentary reviews the five studies of intercultural communication in this special issue by comparing the nature of data analyzed and analytical procedures adopted. The data span from Africa, Asia, to North America, where different cultural, national, or ethnic groups were engaged in different types of social activities; their diversity illustrates how the participants’ ascription of, and resistance towards, their cultural, national, or ethnic identities reflect unique features of the sociohistorical contexts and the nature of their activities. In order to investigate such distinct treatments of interculturality, the researchers seek an analytical lens in the frameworks of ‘interactional sociolinguistics’ (Goffman 1974, 1981; Gumperz 1982, 1992) and ‘membership categorization analysis’ (Sacks 1972, 1992). The metamethodological reflection considers the selection of focal phenomena as well as the use of ethnographic information and the researchers’ own membership knowledge in the process of interpretation, and addresses the issues concerning how to attain an “emic” perspective of cultural difference and sameness.

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