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Issues with “culture”

Small culture shock

As I write about my time in Iran at the age of 23 for my new book, I have to accept that I underwent extreme culture shock. It had all the features that are commonly described in the literature except for one crucially important one. It was about dealing with …

Café Naderi

A while ago I was leading a seminar on intercultural issues with a group of masters students in migration studies. They were particularly diverse with backgrounds from across the world. I showed them a photograph that I had taken myself of a café in downtown old Tehran, Iran. In the …

“Your English is so good”

What would be the conditions for it to be OK to congratulate someone on their English on first encounter? I don’t somehow think it’s enough that they might be just someone one meets in a country where English isn’t … and as soon as I begin to write this sentence …

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 …

Multiple locations for research

A few days ago Mehri and I visited an estate agent because we are trying to sell our apartment. We were contemplating getting into an authentic country living situation, as we felt that the move from an apartment to a house would be better for us at this stage. We …

So what do we mean by intercultural?

The intercultural is to do with interaction between people with different cultural experience. This difference is more obvious where the experience is markedly divergent as a result of histories, grand narratives and practices that are specific to particular societies with their economies, political systems, geographies and events. The particularities of …