Journal of Intercultural Communication, Issue 23, June, 2010

Iris Rittenhofer

Interview without a subject: The Russian doll question and cultural encounters


This article contributes to the rethinking of qualitative interview research into intercultural issues. It suggests that the application of poststructuralist thought should not be limited to the analysis of the interview material itself, but incorporate the choice of interviewees and the modalities for the accomplishment of interviews. The paper focuses on a discussion of theoretical and methodological considerations of design, approach and research strategy. These discussions are specified in relation to a project on gender and ethnicity in cultural encounters at Universities. In the paper, I introduce a research design named Cultural interviewing, present an approach to the design of interviews named Interview without a subject, and offer an analytic strategy directed towards the analysis of interview transcripts named Interview on the level of the signifier. The paper concludes that even though it is relevant for research into intercultural issues to focus on gender and ethnicity, it has to de-center both, gender and ethnicity.

Key words: cultural encounters, qualitative interview, poststructuralism, ethnicity, gender

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