The role of reflexive thought in the achievement of intercultural competence

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Reflexivity refers to the capacity for individuals to understand the cultural system and manage their own position within it. Reflexivity is a key concept in the understanding of intercultural communication (UNESCO, 2006; Blasco, 2012), particularly in recognising the ability for individuals to understand and adapt to new cultural contexts. However, the prevailing methods used in intercultural communication (namely that of intercultural competencies), do not place a great emphasis on the role of reflexivity in achieving cultural adaptation. In this paper, I argue for the central positioning of the concept of reflexivity in intercultural education as a mechanism which mediates between intercultural experiences and individual behaviour. I present evidence of the reflexive sequence (subjectobject-subject) from the reflections of a cohort of students (n=19). Finally, I suggest a pedagogical instrument (a heuristic) for empirically exploring reflexivity in intercultural communication.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIntercultural Education
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2020


  • Intercultural education
  • Intercultural competence
  • Intercultural communication
  • Reflexivity
  • Semantic waves


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