To Understand Understanding: How Intercultural Communication is Possible in Daily Life

Abstract : I propose a few epistemological and methodological reflexions to account for intercultural daily communication. These reflexions emerged during a sociological research in Mendoza, Argentina, with Huarpes Indigenous students at the University of Cuyo. I observed that Indigenous people became quasi ‘‘ethnog- raphers’’ of diverse environments. To make intelligible their classmates’ behavior, and to account for their own behavior, Huarpes follow, in diverse environments and interactions, public rules of meaning. The objective of this paper is twofold: (a) to stress the methodological scope of ordinary communication and ordinary reasoning in order to study understanding between people from different groups and catego- ries, and (b) to contest a kind of ‘‘pessimist’’ standpoint in social sciences and philosophy according to which the use of ordinary language reduces possibilities for understanding. Interviews, participant observation in natural situations, and a review of literature about language and understanding are the basis of this paper.
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  • HAL Id : hal-01945300, version 1

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Germán Fernández-Vavrik. To Understand Understanding: How Intercultural Communication is Possible in Daily Life. Human Studies, Springer Verlag, 2010, 33 (4), pp.371-393. ⟨hal-01945300⟩

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