The man in the café

An interesting example of what we might call ‘cultural difference’ is the man coming into the café where I am sitting in Canterbury who orders an espresso at the counter, stirs in the sugar with particular panache and then drinks the coffee there and then without sitting down, and leaves. …

Cultural rhythms

I recently went to a conference in Venice. Walking through the narrow streets for the business of getting to and from the conference site drew my attention again to walking rhythms. Where they were major routes for tourists I found I was bumping into people, they were stopping in front …

Achieving interculturality

This is the last section, page 179, from the new edition of my book, Understanding intercultural communication: negotiating a grammar of culture. It should be coming out in the New Year. Safa is a character from one of my reconstructed ethnographic narratives; and I think that what she has been …

Being focused

The space in the morning is such an important thing to have. It used to be the case that I could just get up and write for half an hour, and that set me up for the day. These days it seems more complex. And for a while I’ve understood …

‘In my mind’s eye’

‘In my mind’s eye’ is a common expression that I heard my parents’ generation use, which means, I think, imagining visual images or ‘seeing’ ideas and arguments. I experienced an excellent example of this recently at a seminar for doctoral research supervisors. Most of the event was quite remarkably paperless …

The value of painful review

Following the theme that something can be made of everything. My co-author and I have just finished revising another article. As is often the case when trying to break new ground, one of the reviews is negative. “What is the point of this paper? It doesn’t seem to make any …

Multiple locations for research

A few days ago Mehri and I visited an estate agent because we are trying to sell our apartment. The person we had an appointment to meet was late, so we were invited to sit and wait for about twenty minutes. During this time there was so much to look …