New Book Chapter: Living Intercultural Lives: Identity Performance and Zones of Interculturality

Congratulations to Leah Davcheva and Richard Fay for publishing a chapter Living Intercultural Lives: Identity Performance and Zones of Interculturality in the book ‘Intercultural Competence in Education: Alternative Approaches for Different Times’. You may read the abstract of their chapter below:


Much research on intercultural competence (IC) focuses on relatively recent human history, on a transnational era when, for many, especially in the economically privileged parts of the world, the possibilities for intercultural interactions have rapidly increased as physical and virtual mobility opportunities have also increased through processes such as globalization, tourism, economic migration and international education. Such research has also tended to focus on the modernist project, which developed essentially mono-ethnic, mono-cultural, and even mono-linguistic constructions of society, and inherent nationally framed understandings of cultures. Our work on IC has a different starting point. Using the narratives of often elderly Sephardic Jews living in Bulgaria, we reach back almost a century in order to trace the intra-, inter-, and transcultural activities that this diasporic community have engaged in, and continue to engage in, within and beyond their home society, interactions enabled by their multilingualism and especially their main language of cultural affiliation, Ladino. Based on our exploration of their stories, we have developed a new, data-grounded conceptualization of IC as a dynamic process of performing intra-/inter-/transcultural identities in zones of interculturality. Understood in this way, IC manifests itself as work ceaselessly in progress, as unfinished and evolving identity performance. Our research participants constantly experiment with and extend the language and relational resources they have. Whether it is when they seek interactional opportunities or when they respond to changing social circumstances, they play with the languages they have to achieve what they want to achieve and get on with their lives.