Navigating complexities, exploiting shortcuts: Talking about culture as researchers and university educators


  • Daniel Rellstab University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd



culture-in-interaction, expert talk, nexus analysis, stereotypes


Simplistic understandings of culture as ‘national culture’ and of the relation between language, identity, and culture, have been criticized for quite some time. Today, many teachers in higher education have developed a critical awareness of the complexities of culture and interculturality, and many would no longer subscribe to a simplistic understanding of culture as ‘national culture’. Yet despite this awareness, ‘national cultural’ parlance has not disappeared. Drawing on videotaped interactions among researchers and university educators of German as a Foreign Language during a workshop in West Africa, I demonstrate how we as researchers and university educators navigate complexities when discussing ‘culture’ and when, how, and why we, then and again, revert to simplistic concepts of culture in our talk. Analyzing the practices and ‘common sense resources’ we deploy and the discourses we thereby mediate provides insights into how we configure understandings of culture in action and points at problems in the ways we talk.