Intergroup Dialogue: a Theoretical Positioning

Intergroup Dialogue: a Theoretical Positioning

by Michael Atkinson – [ Journal of Dialogue Studies, Vol 1 No 1 ]

Video

Abstract

It has been premised that group based dialogue may be viewed as a face-to-face facilitated conversation between members of two or more social identity groups for the purpose of new levels of understanding, relating, and action. Beyond this superficial meaning however intergroup dialogue exhibits a number of definitional and thereby theoretical inconsistencies leading to confusion and lack of clarity regarding the term. Concerns regarding what constitutes a group and of dialogue vie with issues of power to create a diversity of approaches towards multivocal conversation. This paper suggests that a useful approach to understanding intergroup dialogue is to acknowledge that meanings will always be contested. Drawing on academic and empirical examples this paper explores and unpacks different influences and epistemologies that underpin conceptual understandings of both dialogue and of the group. It is noted that group membership may be classified according to positivistic, critical or constructivist orientations while dialogue, although not so epistemologically differentiated, nevertheless draws on diverse scholarly conceptualisations from which it is defined and presented. The paper concludes through acknowledging that our understanding of dialogue itself is an ongoing project involving meaningful interactions across difference.
Related Articles
Dialogue as a Tool for Racial Reconciliation: Examining Racialised Frameworks
Future Directions and Discipline Formation for ’Dialogue Studies’: Reflections on Critically Analyzing ’Dialogue’ in Theory and Practice