Bridging the Determinist-interpretivist Divide in Intercultural Competence Research

Julie Emontspool, Kristian Rune Hansen

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This conceptual paper identifies and addresses limitations related to the conception of culture prevalent in intercultural competence research in both the management and marketing fields. Taking advantage of insights from both fields, it suggests means of addressing these limitations as productive avenues for future investigation. Doing so requires bridging the divide between determinist and interpretivist definitions of culture, which the paper accomplishes by building on Bourdieu's theoretical framework. This approach facilitates resolutions to three main criticisms of intercultural capital that emerge in light of the determinist-interpretivist divide: An overly static conceptualisation conflating culture and nation, underexplored power relations in the definition and development of intercultural competences, as well as a dearth of socio-historic contextualisation of intercultural competences. The paper contributes to existing knowledge by proposing directions for future research building on these points of criticism, thereby supporting crossfertilisation between marketing and management research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of International Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)251-272
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Consumer
  • Critical studies
  • Cultural capital
  • Field
  • Intercultural competence
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Power


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