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Conference Information

Full Title: The Dialogue of Cultures/ The Culture of Dialogue

Location: Ploiesti, Romania
Start Date: 13-Nov-2014 - 15-Nov-2014
Contact: Ionela Neagu
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: With Plato, followed by Xenophon, and presumably Aristotle (whose Dialogues did not survive) the dialogue became a major literary genre in antiquity. Meant as speaking across, conversing, the dialogue was seen as leading to consensus. In contrast, the contemporary world is dominated by globalization, eclecticism, and conflict.

What the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin coined in his seminal work The Dialogic Imagination as ‘dialogic literature’ (in opposition with ‘monologic’) referred to a continual interchange that one work may establish with other works of literature as well as other authors. Bakhtin’s theory was otherwise consonant with T.S. Eliot’s view of art in context of other pieces, and consequent view that not only should the past be transformed by the present, but also the present should be at times directed by the past. Julia Kristeva went even further, placing Bakhtin’s theory within the large frame of intertextuality.

In a multicultural world, the dialogue between cultures became a sort of a corrective of rejection and vehemence and was meant to make people live peacefully and constructively together, while preserving the feeling of belonging to a community. Asian-American or Asian-European literature, transnational criticism, mobility and feminism in translation, linguistic mediation and immigrating fictions have attempted to instill readers’ awareness of their allegiance to (therefore their dialogue with) a global whole, rather than a confined, restricted and restrictive space. Success has come to be achieved, as the renowned Anglo-Japanese postmodernist writer Kazuo Ishiguro has declared in one of his interviews, as ‘the great hunger for [a] new type of internationalism’.

Acknowledging that human beings are social and cultural beings lies at the core of recent empirical research which is no longer structure-dependent, as Chomsky used to postulate, but focused on ‘competence-in-performance’, on language as social action. Mainstream theories of speech acts, developed by Austin and Searle, or interpersonal communication oriented towards primary communicative consensus (Habermas) and cooperation (Grice) have contributed to the emergence of distinct (and yet, interrelated) approaches that aim to grasp the complexities of ‘language in use’. From Conversation Analysis to Critical Discourse Analysis and the more recent Dialogue Studies, in a cross-disciplinary endeavour, linguists are committed to examine culture as embodied practice (Foley), by highlighting its manifestation in different types of discourse, and by outlining the roots of cultural synergy and cultural conflict. Investigating language as social action pertains to the minute decoding of the cultural dimensions (Hofstede) that human beings display while engaged in dialogic action (Weigand) and the strategies employed to produce and negotiate meaning in order to deal with cultural discomfort in the social game.
Linguistic Subfield: Cognitive Science; Discourse Analysis; Ling & Literature; Philosophy of Language; Pragmatics
LL Issue: 25.2522

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