Intercultural Mediation in a Postmodern World

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This presentation will focus on mediation and the very notion of intercultural mediator in a postmodern world. Mediation is the process of intercultural transformation for all parties involved and also a learning resource in newly constructed spaces of social interactions. Mediation refers to an intercultural spatiality (the socially produced space (Lefebvre 1991), which is not static but constitutive of social relations (Rick, 1997). Here it is useful to adopt Lefebvre’s unitary theory of space (1991), which brings together all its elements, namely i) the physical (real/material) or perceived space, ii) the mental (imagined/conceptual) or conceived space and iii) the social or lived space (Rick, 1997, pp. 10-12). The social or lived space is a new “site where our perceived and conceived notions of space meet, are contested, combined and altered” (Skordoulis & Arvanitis, 2008, p.108). Mediation lies its premises on the notion that every interpersonal communication could be perceived as an intercultural one due to the diversified lifeworlds (Kalantzis & Cope, 2012) of participants involved. These lifeworlds are shaped by participants’ multidimensional personalities. These personalities have an enormous impact on participants’ engagement in any communication circumstance. In supporting this, it is important to adopt a broader definition of diversity as in modern conditions of increasing global interconnectedness, differences are subtle and complex and shape people’s personalities and life histories in unique ways. Kalantzis & Cope (2012) call for a more inclusive approach to diversity in order to include dimensions of differences such as material (differences of social class, geographical locale and family), corporeal (differences... ... middle of paper ... ...r the mediation process may involve conflicting cultural attributes such as individualism vs collectivism; femininity vs masculinity; different sense of security (need for more or less rules), hierarchy or power, multi-tasking approach vs mono-tasking approach, orientation and understanding of time and space, non-verbal vs verbal communication in response to a particular situation (See http://en.wikimediation.org/index.php?title=Intercultural_mediation). Negotiating with these differences intercultural mediators function as a bridge between participants in the mediation process and all together they shape new social grounds based on mutual understanding, relationships of reciprocity and effective communication patterns. This is a newly formed intercultural social space, which is constructed and lived by all parties involved in multiple, inclusive and engaging ways.

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