Translocal pragmatics: Operationalizing postnational heuristics to locate salient cultural overlap

Massimo Verzella, Andrew Mara


Researchers in the field of intercultural communication rely on quantitative methods based upon a model of national differences to explore how individuals interact across cultures. This study develops and applies new heuristics, an operationalizable and digestible framework to investigate intercultural communication. By combining a test of Self-Construal, i.e. the individual’s inclination towards collectivism or individualism, with a discourse analysis of the conversations between the research participants—a group of American and Italian students who collaborated in a writing/translating project (the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Project)—a richer and more finely-detailed picture of the coordinations that occur between intercultural interlocutors emerges.

In keeping with past findings, our hypothesis builds upon the suppositions that Independent Self-Construal poses obstacles to communication and fruitful collaboration. Instead of relying only on traditional quantitative methods, we use mixed methods to assess the explanatory power of Self-Construal and to find ways to obtain a more fine-grained understanding of the factors that play an important role as students collaborate on an international project.


Pragmatics; Heuristics; Mixed-Methods; Self-Construal; Translocal

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