Interactions Between Cultures: Intercultural Communication and Acculturation



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The course brings cultural characteristics of communication, the understanding of intercultural interactions and relations into focus. It also discusses how opportunities inherent in these interactions could be exploited and how conflicts could be successfully managed. It pays special attention to the concepts, development and measurement of intercultural competence. It investigates cultural norms, cognitive and affective processes that lie behind the differences in verbal and non-verbal communication and that influence the interpretation frames of people from different cultures.

While discussing acculturation - the process of cultural and psychological change following contact between cultural groups and their individual members – the course gives an emphasis on identity constructions, sociocultural and psychological adaptation, and community-based acculturation strategies. Via introducing the acculturation strategies of various groups, the course gives an insight into the applications of acculturation research.

In the critical analysis of intercultural communication and that of the theoretical frameworks and findings of acculturation research, special attention is paid to power and status differences as well as related identity mechanisms and the broader social, historical background of the intercultural interactions.

  • Benet-Martinez, V., Hong, Y.-Y. (Eds.) (2014) The Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity. Oxford University Press.
  • Deardorff, D.K. (Ed.) (2009) The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Demoulin, S., Leyens, J.P. & Dovidio, J.F. (Eds.) (2009) Intergroup misunderstandings: Impact of divergent social realities (pp. 21-38). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Matsumoto, D. (Ed.) (2010) APA Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Sam, D. L. & Berry J.W. (Eds.) (2006), The Cambridge handbook of acculturation psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.