Atay, Ahmed and D'Silva, Margaret (eds.). Mediated intercultural communication in a digital age. Routledge, 2019. xiv, 227 p. ISBN 978-1-138-30291-4. £120.00
Intercultural communication is definitely an interesting subject and it becomes even more intruiging when explored as mediated through digital communication channels. Intercultural communication itself is a multifaceted and multidiciplinary research area that poses a number of different challenges for researchers whether they are doing it from outside or from inside the culture. Digital media and mediation make it even more complicated but also provide an interesting link to information science. Therefore, I was expecting an interesting read when the volume of Mediated intercultural communication in a digital age has reached me.
I have found enough material to justify my curiosity as an information science researcher, but on the whole the volume was somewhat disappointing. This has nothing to do with each and every chapter in the book, some were more interesting than others from my point of view and other readers will find other chapters more interesting than those I have appreciated. But as with an increasing number of collectively written volumes, this is a rather fragmented collection of separate texts. They are rather different in style, conceptual approaches, even genres. Some are undoubtedly sound empirical studies, others more theoretically oriented papers or literature reviews, some others just accounts of personal or professional experiences. There is no sense of unity or leading idea for the whole book, it feels as if one is reading a journal issue.
The book consists of 12 chapters, of which the first two discuss the scope of and conceptual approaches to cultural and intercultural phenomen in online media. Two more focus on the issues of intercultural journalim and mediated translations in the digital era.
Some of the chapters may be interesting from the perspective of information science. Chapter 7 explores information sharing on an online travellers' forum using the communities of practice and cultural learning approaches. The study reveals that the travel forum is driven both by information and interaction, marketing and consumer evaluation that might be in contrast with each other. It also provides insights into the sources, on which the image of the country for the potential travellers rests.
Chapter 8 explores the representation of Tibetan Buddhism on the websites of the Western countries: the spread and popularity, the adoption and circulation of symbols, the learning courses, the peacefulness of the culturally diverse society. Chapter 9 is devoted to the diversity of media looking into the issues of migration and multiculturality in the Netherlands and Norway. Methodologically both may be useful to researchers exploring other sensitive issues, e.g., science communication or environmental information in media.
Chapter 11 on usage of new media by Korean international students in the USA is closest to the studies of information use in context and has reminded me of a recently defended dissertation in Swedish School of Library and Information Science (Hicks, 2018) though different in scope, but exploring role of media in everyday life of students with different cultural backgrounds.
I liked the chapter 10 on the case of incicaps.com in Turkey as internet-mediated humor domain spreading humorous network images (mainly, video clips and images) through different social media channels. The researchers have investigated different aspects of the most popular messages and their specific cultural meanings. This revealed to me a totally new aspect of Turkish online culture.
The volume could be interesting for the students and lecturers of intercultural communication, and media. It can be used as additional readings and as a source of research ideas in social media studies.
Hicks, A. (2018). The theory of mitigating risk : Information literacy and language learning in transition. Valfrid. (University of Borås Ph.D. dissertation)
University of Borås
How to cite this review
Maceviciute, E. (2020). Review of: Atay, Ahmed and D'Silva, Margaret (eds.). Mediated intercultural communication in a digital age. Routledge, 2019. Information Research, 25(1), review no. R684 [Retrieved from http://www.informationr.net/ir/reviews/revs684.html]
Information Research is published four times a year by the University of Borås, Allégatan 1, 501 90 Borås, Sweden.