Listening to the Other - Intercultural communication in times of crisis

Kjetil Fretheim (1)
(1) MF Norwegian School of Theology, Norway, Norway


In this paper I discuss the role of intercultural communication in times of crisis. First I give an account of current crisis communication research and consider how it relates to the academic field of intercultural communication. I then discuss how the understanding of crisis is constructed through communication in the public sphere and highlight how this implies a challenge to intercultural communication studies. The case of religious climate change contributions is used to illustrate how the language and voice of the Other can interrupt ongoing debates on crises and expand the participants’ imagination and interpretive horizons. This leads me to point out the key role of listening in intercultural communication. I end by arguing that both the practice and theory of intercultural crisis communication needs to develop a mode of intercultural listening and learning rather than strategic persuasion and proclamation.

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Kjetil Fretheim
(Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Kjetil Fretheim, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Norway

Kjetil Fretheim is professor of Ethics and Diaconal Studies at MF Norwegian School of Theology. Fretheim has authored and co-edited books and articles on intercultural communication, human rights, religion and development, as well as ethics and global issues.

Fretheim, K. (2016). Listening to the Other - Intercultural communication in times of crisis. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 16(3), 1–10.

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