- Outline of Intercultural Communication at the LMU in Munich
- Master's Program in Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication is a young interdisciplinary field of study, which investigates human action in intercultural situations. It examines how outsiders are viewed and how these perspectives effect how we communicate and interact with one another. Our program uses a combination of theory and practical ethnographic research to help students understand the perspectives of others and their experiences in a culturally diverse environment.
Students acquire a theoretical, methodical and factual foundation, which enables them to
- analyze intercultural actions and contexts
- assess the significance of cultural diversity
- act in an interculturally competent manner
The Intercultural Communication Department at LMU considers itself to be an empirical science, which examines foreignness from various perspectives in real-life situations.
Ethnography of intercultural actions and interactions is the main focus, i.e. interpreting and explaining intercultural actions from the actor's point of view, while taking into account contextual and everyday cultural aspects centered on the following questions:
- What do individuals do when they act interculturally?
- How do people conceptualize intercultural action?
- How do we deal with problems and conflicts stemming from intercultural actions?
We believe that an ethnography of intercultural actions is only possible if the following ethical principles are followed:
- Equality of cultures
- Equality of the needs and expression of real individuals, regardless of whether they are natives or foreigners, members of a majority or a minority
- Equality of perspective and experience of both the researchers and of the subjects they research (“the studied”).
The Intercultural Communication Department at the LMU believes that all cultures are created equal. However, it does use some generalized cultural norms and/or trends, in single countries and regions, as examples. The focal point of the program is the theoretical approaches in both cultural studies and communication, which are also scrutinized for their practical relevance.
Furthermore, the following additional subjects are studied: the formation of stereotypes and prejudice, the influence of culture on perception, acculturation, ethnocentrism and identity, intercultural competence and intercultural learning, culture and economics, multiculturalism and ethnic boundaries.
As of the 2010/11 Winter semester, the Intercultural Communication Department has been given the privilege to offer a MA program. We highly recommend internships abroad, or in intercultural contexts. The Ethnology, European Ethnology or German as a Foreign Language majors, cannot be selected as a minor in addition to Intercultural Communication.
Students majoring in Business Administration and Economics can take Intercultural Communication as a required elective.
Students of other graduate programs can take Intercultural Communication dependent on the requirements of the examination regulations.
Contents and Goals The LMU Munich's new master's program in “Intercultural Communication“ offers an opportunity to intensively study intercultural affairs. In today's multicultural, globalized societies one is expected to be able to communicate effectively and appropriately with people from different cultures. Having had international experience, many people consider themselves open and flexible and believe they are able to meet these expectations. However, they soon discover that it is much more difficult in actual intercultural encounters than they anticipated. In many areas, be it in personal experiences, social networks or international relations, cultural otherness can lead to problems. One of the greatest present-day challenges is how to solve these problems. Taking up this challenge is the point of departure of the “Intercultural Communications“ Master's Program. The main concern is to study the many different forms of dealing with interculturalism. This is done by “the ethnography of intercultural action”, i.e, the representation of intercultural action from the viewpoint of different actors, respectively different cultural perspectives. The student should acquire the theoretical, methodical and factual knowledge that enables him to
- analyze and interpret intercultural activities and contexts from different perspectives
- plan and carry out research projects on intercultural issues
- act interculturally competent in everyday practice.
Intercultural communication is understood as communication between actors of or considered to be of different cultures. Communication and culture are seen as a dialectical relationship: communication generates culture which is a prerequisite for communication. The heart of the program are theories and methods that permit a balanced and process-oriented study of intercultural topics and problems. Cultural difference is seen both as a social construct and a social fact. In other words, on the one hand, we approach cultural difference as generated by interactive processes, and, on the other hand, we focus on the effect of cultural difference on communication. The course of study covers the following subjects:
- Culture and cultural differences
- Interpersonal and intergroup communication
- Ethnocentrism and acculturation
- Multiculturality and diversity
- Migration and transnational networks
- Interculturality in multinational organizations
A focal point of the program is training in qualitative research methods, especially ethnographic and action research methods. From the very beginning, students will acquire competency in practice, which will be deepened and solidified by either professional or research project experience. Particular value is placed on combining research and practice as well as working with methods that can be applied in both domains. More to the course contents (only in German).
The Master's Program in Intercultural Communication is of interest for anyone
- considering taking up aspects of intercultural communication in research or education
- considering working in planning and organization, consulting and mediation, training and further education in multinational organizations and in facilities and institutions of a multicultural society.
The courses are held in German!