Dialogue-shared Experiences across Space andTime: Cross-linguistic and Cross-cultural Practices

deadline for submissions: 
October 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
European Society for Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Dialogue & University of Alicante
contact email: 

From the Socratic dialogues to post-modern cyberchats, it is only in and through communicative interaction that we can understand the world, people, and how things are working around us (Bohm, 2004/1996, Rockwell 2003). By means of dialogue people are able to argue for their viewpoints, to come to terms with each other, to jointly solve problems, and to resolve conflicts (Pickering and Garrod 2021). Dialogue brings together women and men, young and old, people from the east and the west, from the north and the south. Through the creative synergy of shared thoughts, ideas, and experiences, we can travel anywhere in space and time. The ongoing proliferation of new communication channels on social media platforms (Whatsapp, Facebook, YouTube, webchat, chatbots) is expanding the opportunities for multi-participant and multi-purpose dialogue involving people from across the world willing to share information and current concerns (Papacharissi 2002). At the same time, however, recent trends in dialogue practices, primarily on new digital platforms, reveal worrying signs of growing misunderstanding, opinion bias, as well as extreme and conflicting position-takings. Many situations of communication break-down are caused not necessarily by faulty technology, but rather by certain users’ deliberate interference with and suppression of free public dialogue. At the core of these situations lie several communication-related paradoxes.

A first paradox concerns the tendency to introduce and encourage redundant monologues (instances of ad nauseum fallacy) in environments that are normally dedicated to open-ended dialogues. While there is ample user participation in a genuinely free exchange of ideas, some users exhibit a closed mindset, aggressively promoting their own interests and short-circuiting independent thinking, showing reluctance to learn about and try to understand other viewpoints that do not resonate with theirs. 

A second paradox concerns the tendency to reduce the plurality and diversity of perspectives in open-ended dialogue to an oversimplified binary opposition by means of false dilemma fallacy. This is explicitly displayed in interviews where the questioner restricts the respondent’s answering options to ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or on digital platforms, where only two options are available for expressing one’s opinion: ‘like’ (thumbs up) or ‘dislike’ (thumbs down). An interactive dialogue is thus restricted to simply expressing agreement or disagreement, denying the middle ground (“Maybe…”) or any qualified response (“Another way of looking at it …”).

A third paradox concerns the tendency to exclude (‘othering’), rather than to include (bringing people together through dialogue), creating division by discrediting and viciously attacking a person rather than their views, based on social, political, racial, ethnic or religious background (ad hominem fallacy), often resorting to abusive threats (ad baculum fallacy). By blocking or distorting the meanings of other dialogue platform users, such confrontational and aggressive behaviour is meant to trigger compliance from and to embolden hate groups.

Manipulating behaviours like the ones presented above can seriously discourage and obstruct a trust-based dialogic exchange of views, disconnecting instead of connecting, creating divisions between those easily persuaded by relentless false or abusive statements and those engaged in open-minded, argument-driven dialogue. Counteracting such tendencies requires decisive and sustained collaborative action to generate shared meaning within and across language and cultures. 

A special strand of research that will be foregrounded at this conference concerns theoretical and practical aspects of translation and interpreting. Through its own (communicative) nature, the field of Translation and Interpreting plays a decisive role in this attempt to counteract redundant monologues, binary discursive structures, exclusionist and manipulative communication, providing an array of instruments (scholarly, pedagogical, and professional) to meet the needs of other (neighboring) fields under this joint aim. The common ground it shares with cross-cultural and cross-linguistic domains, makes it a sine-qua-non presence in any debate with an agenda such as this one. 

The development of communication (including digital) and transnational financial and political relations, together with cheaper transport from the mid-20th century on, made it necessary to respond to an ever-growing demand for multilingual 

communication, which led to the professionalization of Translation and Interpreting. In recent years, the growth of migration flows has brought such linguistic diversity that communication is often blocked by barriers (linguistic or 

behavioral) in the destination countries between service-providers and service-seekers. So far, research in this domain has focused on the analysis of dialogue needs, interpreting deontological requirements, situational variables, and interpreting process and product descriptions. Nowadays, topics such as remote interpreting (a controversial modality), professional threats (such as computers replacing humans or the generalized use of ELF), signed interpreting, ethical issues surrounding the interpreter-mediator binomial, or the psychological dimension (emotions, vicarious trauma) that characterizes dialogical interpreting as distinct from other domains, are some of the topics that raise scholarly attention. Contributions in any of these directions and especially in the more recent ones are encouraged.


At the same time, diasporic identities are permanently re-constructed in literary works written by ectopic authors and translated by diaspora translators for host societies and sometimes for diaspora receivers. Translators are not free from the influence of imagology. Leerssen (2016) encourages a redefinition of imagology in the light of recent developments, showing that the concept gains urgency (as it did after the Second World War), with resurgent nationalisms, due to crisis conditions and to membership of supranational structures, as well as unprecedented migration flows (Hoenselaars and Leerssen, 2009). However, Leerssen (2007) also acknowledges that ethnocentricity always characterized human societies and “anything that deviated from accustomed domestic patterns” was, and still is, othered “as an oddity, an anomality, a singularity.” Ethnotypes and stereotypes (as judgements made about individuals based on any observable or believed group membership), or prejudices (as irrational suspicion or hatred towards a particular group, religion, sexual orientation) are mechanisms of exclusion and barriers to intercultural communication. Doorslaer, Flynn, and Leerssen (2015) point at translation as a dynamic force which, rather than merely reflecting differences, co-constructs them. Dimitriu (2015) talks about the ‘selective import’ of ethnic stereotypes via translation, and ‘blockage’ via manipulation and self-censorship in the export of negative ethnic clichés under totalitarian regimes. Participants are invited to delve into the past and present of the relationship between translation and exclusion.

ross-linguistic communication, but also to translation and interpreting is the concept of translanguage. Oriyama (2001) uses this term to define ‘a developing minority language in a bilingual system’, based on the theoretical framework of language transfer and ‘interlanguage’ (Selinker 1972) which was applied to second language acquisition. The notion of translanguaging in translation studies is related to Laviosa (2015), who explores how this bilingual practice may enrich language and translation teaching in higher education. It has already been proved that in contact settings, a bilingual person usually has a command of both majority language and minority language, regardless of the order of acquisition. Bilinguals’ minority first languages are unstable, continuously changing in competence and performance. As a transitional language, translanguage is a creative tool of communication that compensates for knowledge and experience gaps. Thus, the conference welcomes contributions describing the multifaceted dialogue taking place not only between diasporas and host societies but also (and especially) within diasporas or between diasporas and home societies via translanguaging.


By expanding the opportunities for open-ended dialogue we can connect across historic social, political and geographic divides, to jointly come to grips with the big questions surrounding climate change and sustainable practice, the effects of unprecedented technological change, the challenges of multi-ethnic and pluralistic societies, as well as the diversification of linguistic and artistic ways of expression.

The 6th ESTIDIA conference, like the preceding ones, offers an open forum for cross-disciplinary and multi-level dialogue among researchers and practitioners interested in exploring dialogic and discursive interaction observable across communities of practices and various social-cultural contexts. The questions participants are called upon to consider, analyse and debate include, but are not limited to, the following:

- To what extent and in what circumstances can context-specific dialogic strategies be adjusted across languages and cultures?

- In what ways is mutual trust perceived in face-to-face interaction? How is mutual trust affected by the conditions of virtual interaction?

- What cross-cultural parallels can be noticed with regard to the gendering of face-to-face dialogues as compared to virtual ones?

- How are translanguaging practices constrained and/or facilitated by institutional norms and regulations?

- What are the new challenges of interpreting with a special focus on multimodality? 

- How can we deal with translation and exclusion, past and present?

- How can translanguaging be used as a tool of communication for diasporic minorities?

- In what ways are particular keywords used in particular dialogic interactions to mislead, manipulate and/or reproduce otherness?

- What critical and intercultural practices can be developed to challenge the dissemination of stigmatizing and stereotyping language?

- In what ways can aggressive words and speech acts shape discursive processes in various socio-cultural settings?

- How are culture-specific concepts related to the articulation of individual and group identities?

- Which dialogue-based argumentation fallacies have a greater emotional impact in various communities of practice?

- How much do cross-European dialogues reveal about interaction paradigms in individual European cultures?

- What discursive and metadiscursive strategies are particularly used in dialogic acts of manipulation?

- How can the dialogues on chatbots can be distinguished from dialogues on webchats in terms of linguistic design, dialogic cues, key words and/or discourse markers?

- Why does bullying, trolling, proliferation of fake or misleading information, and other antisocial and antidemocratic behaviors seem more prevalent in interactions on social media?

- How are migration and mobility policies reflecting and/or shaping the public debates at local, national, European and international level?


Abstract Submission


We invite submissions of abstracts both for individual paper presentations (20 minutes for presentation, to be followed by 10 minutes for questions) to be scheduled in parallel sessions, and for paper presentations within thematic workshops. The thematic workshop format will be determined by the workshop organisers, taking into consideration the correlation of topics/sub-topics and the number of participants.

All abstracts should include the name, institutional affiliation and email address of the author(s), the paper title, and four-five keywords. The abstract should be approximately 500 words in length.

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the conference scientific committee according to the following criteria: originality and/or importance of topic; clarity of research question and purpose; data sources; theoretical approach; analytical focus; relevance of findings if already available. We especially encourage abstract submissions from early-career researchers, including postgraduate research students and postdoctoral researchers.


Email abstract submissions to: estidia22@ua.es

Conference languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish, German


Conference website: https://web.ua.es/estidia22

Check the Conference website periodically or send inquiries to: estidia22@ua.es