Call for Chapters: Intercultural Competence: Alternative approaches for different times


Call for chapters

Intercultural Competence: Alternative approaches for different times

Eds. Fred Dervin (university of Helsinki, Finland) & Zehavit Gross (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

Deadline for abstract submission: 1st april 2014


Contradictorily the concept of intercultural competence is both polysemic and empty. Researchers, practitioners but also decision makers use it almost automatically without always worrying about its meaning(s), the impact(s) it has on those who are embedded in its discussions and the injustice it can lead to. A few ‘usual suspects’ – mostly derived from English-speaking researchers/practitioners who enjoy prestige thanks to the symbolic violence of English as a World Language and/or prestigious supranational support – whose work is systematically (and uncritically) mentioned have often managed to keep mainstream global understandings of intercultural competence simplified, fuzzy, or unrealistic.

This call for chapters is interested in new, critical and original approaches to intercultural competence that go beyond these problematic ‘macdonaldised’ models and ‘reinventing the wheel’ perspectives.

The editors are looking for authors who are either interested in criticising the most ‘influential’ models of intercultural competence and/or who have attempted (un)successfully to develop new understandings and models of intercultural competence. The editors wish to promote the idea that failure is also inherent to intercultural competence. The question of assessment can be touched upon but the idea that intercultural competence can be summatively assessed abandoned. In this volume the editors consider intercultural competence to be synonymous with multicultural competence, cross-cultural competence, global competence, etc. as these labels are also unstable.

The editors are especially interested in fresh perspectives from all parts of the world. Multilingual and interdisciplinary references are pre-requisites. Alternative methods and approaches are very welcome (e.g. use of bodily experiences).

The following themes can be tackled:

–        What’s wrong with current approaches? What mistakes have been made – especially from researchers’ perspectives?

–        How can we move from an individualistic approach to intercultural competence to interactive and co-constructivist ones?

–        Is the idea of intercultural competence a thing of the past? How does it compare to intracultural competence (if such a thing exists)?

–        Can the idea of intercultural competence be really useful for conflictual situations?

–        Can neurosciences contribute to renewing the idea of intercultural competence? What about art, music, etc.?

–        What can we do with old and tired concepts such as identity, culture and community when we talk about intercultural competence?

–        What are the myths around the concept of intercultural competence?

–        Etc.

Potential authors are invited to submit a 300-word proposal (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to the editors by April 1st 2014 (e-mail: and; .rtf or .doc files only). The proposals should clearly explain the originality of the approach to intercultural competence, and include a short description of empirical data (where applicable). A basic bibliography may also be added. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by April 15th 2014.

The book is scheduled to be published in 2015 with Routledge. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a blind review basis.