This book critically examines the main features of intercultural communication. It addresses how ideology permeates intercultural processes and develops an alternative ‘grammar’ of culture. It explores intercultural communication within the context of global politics, seeks to address the specific problems that derive from Western ideology, and sets out an agenda for research.

‘Taking on issues normally left in the margins, Adrian Holliday has revised the way we think of intercultural communication by insisting that we consider its ideological component. In this brilliant and engaging book about culture and the interstices that comprise the grounds for our interactions, he shows us the necessity for a cosmopolitan process that expands the basis of our intercultural work. This is a compelling book that should be read by scholars and the general public alike. It is accessible, factual, and clear.’ – Molefi Kete Asante, Temple University

Cultural Complexity

Cultural complexity

The purpose of this chapter is to develop the critical cosmopolitan view of culture presented in Chapter 1 and implicit in the methodology for critical cultural awareness in Chapter 2. I shall relate some of the thoughts arising from interviews with expert informants to demonstrate how the complexity of personal cultural realities which transcend boundaries is sometimes in creative conflict with the external cultural structures of nation. I shall then move on to develop the difference between neo-essentialist and critical cosmopolitan views of culture, growing out of the interviews, by looking at the opposing sociological theories of structural-functionalism and social action.


The first part of this chapter is based on a body of data emerging from interviews with 32 people who were selected ...

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