‘Constructivist Intercultural Communication‘ with Milton Bennett, 17th to 19th of June 2015 in São Paulo

Applying the New Paradigm

Course Description

Intercultural communication is a young field, born into the newly relativistic mid-20th century. It addressed the then-new question, “if you have your own worldview, and I have mine, how can we understand each other?” Early interculturalists gave a powerful answer to that question: we must construct a bridge between them. The course shows how this constructivist idea generated the intercultural theory and applications that are still in use today. People doing intercultural work need to know these roots of the field so they can use the authentic intercultural perspective and not confuse it with other, less powerful approaches to cross-cultural relations.
The course will also explore instances of “paradigmatic confusion,” where outcomes based on the new constructivist paradigm are pursued with methods based in earlier positivist or purely relativist paradigms. The most common of these confusions occurs when the constructivist goal of intercultural competence is sought in a positivist assembling of personal characteristics or through a relativist rendering of cultural information. By avoiding paradigmatic confusion, interculturalists can maintain the coherence of perspective that enables extraordinarily effective personal and organizational development.
The course follows and expands on Milton Bennett’s text, Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: Paradigms, Principles, & Practices (Intercultural Press, 2013). In addition to the focus on a constructivist paradigm, the course reviews a coherent set of intercultural principles with ample illustrations, and it provides the latest updates to the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity – it’s measurement and its application.

Target Group

This course is intended for both new and experienced interculturalists who wish to be more effective in their research, teaching, training, coaching, or other applications. It also would be of interest to those outside the field who wish to assess the value of an intercultural perspective in their work. This course serves as the foundation for other courses in this curriculum.


  • Understand the three major paradigms of science and the form they take in social science
  • Analyze case studies of paradigmatic confusion in intercultural applications
  • Review a brief intellectual history of intercultural communication in terms of the paradigms
  • Define and discuss the intercultural perspective and contrast it with other approaches to cross-cultural relations
  • Review the latest definitions, measurements, and applications of the DMIS
  • Apply constructivist principles to course participants’ projects.

Dr. Milton Bennett

Dr. Milton Bennett is a founder of IDRAcadamy and an adjunct member of the Faculty of Sociology at University of Milano Bicocca. Previously he was an associate professor of communication at Portland State University, where for 15 years he taught communication theory and intercultural communication. He co-founded the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, Oregon to support professional development of interculturalists, and he continues to consult in domestic and global diversity for schools and universities, corporations, and social service agencies. He has edited and contributed to a synthesis of classic intercultural theory, Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication; generated the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) and co- developed a measurement of it, the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI); and co-edited and contributed to the 3rd edition of the Handbook of Intercultural Training. Following his life- long interest in the philosophy of science, Milton currently generates new theory and research through IDRInstitute, which operates in the US and Europe.


U$ 875, SIETAR members will get a 15% discount.

For further information and registration please contact

Hanna Helstelä in Brazil
hanna@helstela.com , +55 11 − 2379 5730

or Luca Fornari from IDRInstitute in Milan/Italy, luca.fornari@idrinstitute.org


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