Title

Back to Basics : The Impact of Intercultural Communication Theory in Nation-Building: A Comparative Inquiry of Kosovo and Iraq

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Richard Rodman

Abstract

The first step to bridging intercultural differences is contact between two cultures. Prior to the conflict in Kosovo, contact between the international community and this province was significant. In recent years under Hussein’s dictatorship, this was not the case in Iraq. Iraq has been isolated from the international community for over a decade. Grounded in Intercultural Communication (ICC) theory, this study establishes the argument that the lack of contact between the international community and a country such as Iraq is an overarching influence on the nation-building efforts of today.

Combining theory and real-life experiences in war-torn Kosovo and Iraq, this research intends to shed light on the role of ICC as a critical component in nation-building. This study presents an extensive literature review and a comparative inquiry that is enhanced by an in-depth qualitative interview of a US Army Civil Affairs Officer’s “in the trenches” experience at the crossroads of ICC and nation-building in Kosovo and Iraq. The approach addresses the research questions of ICC and nation-building in one of the very few practical ways available to this field researcher given the realities of war, politics, and circumstances.

The current situation in Iraq has sparked an explosion of controversy in the international community. The lessons presented by previous conflicts are meant for us to use in conflicts of today. It is the hope of this study that intercultural communication will be better recognized as a major contributing factor to the ongoing challenges in Iraq and future nation-building efforts. In terms of intercultural relations, the nations involved in re-building Iraq must consider going ‘back to the basics’ of intercultural theory and understanding the complex situation in Iraq that stems from the lack of intercultural interaction with the international community in the years leading up to the conflict.

Disciplines

International and Intercultural Communication | Political Theory

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