Pragma-semantic Analysis for Researching Intercultural Communication

Arne Weidemann


Based on Ernst E. BOESCH's symbolic action theory (1991), the concept of relational hermeneutics (STRAUB & SHIMADA, 1999; STRAUB, 2006) and within the framework of grounded theory methodology (GLASER & STRAUSS, 1967; STRAUSS & CORBIN, 1990) this paper presents an integrative approach to the analysis of complex (inter)cultural action and meaning relations. The objective of pragma-semantic analysis is the identification, differentiation and contextualization of phenomena by analyzing performed as well as potentially possible actions and objectivations. Pragma-semantic analysis tries to reveal from which sources resp. pools of symbols individually as well as collectively available denotative and connotative aspects of actions derived. Further it can be utilized to show how these meanings come to bear in interactions that—through the analysis—have to be identified as intercultural in the first place.
Using the empirical example of a German tourist's narrative of her interaction with beggars in India, the paper will outline the approach and show to what extent the pragma-semantic web also allows conclusions on action-possiblities and potential meanings with regard to specific (inter)actions, that is to determine the subjective as well as objective space of possibility. Furthermore, the implications of this approach are discussed with regard to research on intercultural communication as well as the research practice itself.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901373


cultural psychology; symbolic action theory; horizons of comparison; relational hermeneutics; space of possibility; pragma-semantic web; interaction with beggars; tourism; India


Copyright (c) 2009 Arne Weidemann

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