Reading Qualitative Social Research Interculturally: The Reflection of Self-interpretation in the Act of Interpersonal Understanding (Fremdverstehen)

Jan Kruse


In this contribution, I attempt to justify the following two assumptions: Firstly, that intercultural communication is, at its heart, the communicative paradigm of qualitative interview-based research; and secondly that, vice versa, qualitative interview-based research is the methodical paradigm of intercultural communication. On the one side—from a linguistic point of view—the qualitative paradigm, with its methodical principles of communicability and context sensibility, cannot solve the problem of the indexicality of human language and communication—although the qualitative paradigm can indeed work on this problem prolifically. Handling and processing indexicality is, in this case, also a core task for intercultural communication. On the other side: Processing the linguistic problems of indexicality itself stands in the shadow of the epistomological problem of other-awareness (Fremdverstehen according to Alfred SCHÜTZ). In the same way in which Fremdverstehen represents the central mode of intercultural communication, the methodical control of Fremdverstehen—developed within the paradigm of reconstructive research—is the core mode of qualitative interview-based research. Thus, qualitative interview-based research and intercultural communication clearly converge in two aspects. The theoretical thoughts presented in this contribution are, in a second step, illustrated by a practical example. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901162


indexical; the principle of other-awareness (in the act of interpersonal understanding, according to "Fremdverstehen" by Alfred Schütz); qualitative interviewing; self-reflexivity; theoretical sensibility; processuality of research

Copyright (c) 2009 Jan Kruse

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