Semiotic phenomenology and the 'dialectical approach' to intercultural communication: Paradigm crisis and the actualities of research practice

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2 Scopus citations


The present work considers the place of phenomenology within intercultural communication scholarship and argues for semiotic phenomenology as a theory and methodology that can address the current 'paradigm crisis' within the field. Current misunderstandings of phenomenology as an 'interpretive' research paradigm are challenged. 'Metatheoretical' efforts to develop dialectical approaches to the study of communication are critiqued for their failure to adequately interrogate the deep-seated cultural habits of perception that are necessarily present in intercultural communication research. Semiotic phenomenology is offered as a corrective that entails the capacity to address the question as to how we know when, in fact, we have truly achieved a shift at the habituated level of human experience where cultural perception is generated. Martin and Nakayama's (1999) dialectical perspective provides the context through which the discussion proceeds. A focus on Perice's categories of firstness, secondness, and thirdness constitute the theoretical point through which the argument proceeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-153
Number of pages19
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008



  • Dialectical perspective
  • Intercultural communication
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Research practice
  • Semiotic phenomenology
  • U.S. American cultural bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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