Intercultural Communication and Disabilities from a Communication Complex Perspective

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Abstract


Intercultural communication presents a number of challenges that are less of an issue in same-culture interactions. This is important because travel and technological capability enable more and more immigrants, business people, tourists, etc. to engage in such interactions. One group of people that comprises 10% of the world population, the disabled, is increasingly being mainstreamed within cultures as well as traveling to other countries. Research finds that the disabled are often marginalized and discriminated against within their own country. When the abled enter an intercultural interaction with the disabled the communication challenges are even greater. Communication Complex, a metatheoretical perspective on communication that embraces a constitutive definition of communication combined with a neuroscience understanding of interaction, offers a deeper, yet highly practical explanation of the level of complexity that such an encounter entails. This article offers a brief introduction to this way of understanding intercultural communication, along with the suggestion that future studies and practical guides should take disabilities into account when analyzing or building skills.

John Parrish-Sprowl

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Email: johparri@iupui.edu

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