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Intercultural dialogue: a review of conceptual and empirical issues relating to social transformation

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Ratzmann, Nora.
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Intercultural dialogue is framed as an alternative policy response to globalisation-induced challenges of cultural diversity. It gained momentum as an integration instrument in the 2000s, superseding multiculturalism and assimilation-oriented policies, which were declared as failed. A number of international organisations, including the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations, started championing intercultural dialogue formats for cultural diversity management.Intercultural dialogue is defined as a soft power tool. International, governmental, civil society actors and scholars propose slightly varying conceptualisations of the term.

The following summative definition was developed through an extensive literature review: Intercultural dialogue is:

• a process of reciprocal and dynamic long-term exchange between individuals from different cultural backgrounds, based on mutual respect, trust and empathy

• engaging productively with similarities and differences, including the development of a common understanding of embedded meanings and dismantling of prejudices and stereotypes, focusing on self-awareness, learning from multiple perspectives and reflexive revision of personal views and ideas in the light of knowledge gained on the lifestyle, meanings, traditions, values and norms of others, allowing for flexible, fluid and multiple identities, dealing with them constructively on the basis of shared values of universal human rights.