1.2 The Interdisciplinary Field of Intercultural Communication

Looking at the fields of inquiry looking at intercultural communication.

To understand and to study intercultural relations and communication, various perspectives are necessary. Intercultural Communication is therefore an interdisciplinary field of inquiry. The primary academic disciplines involved in Intercultural Communication studies are:

Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Linguistics and Communication.

The scope of Intercultural Communication and the main contributions of the various fields can be seen as follows (Bennett 1998):

  • perception, interpretation, attribution (psychology, linguistics, communication)
  • verbal communication (linguistics, communication)
  • nonverbal communication (communication)
  • communication styles (linguistics, communication)
  • values (psychology, anthropology, sociology)


Researchers from these disciplines have worked in the past, basically, from their own perspectives, with their own focuses and with their own methods. In general, they have not learned complementary theoretical approaches, and hardly any dialogue between researchers of different scientific orientations has existed. Actual "intercultural" communication between the representatives of the various disciplines has therefore often been problematic, with each discipline claiming its legacy to the field.


© Liisa Salo-Lee, 2006


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