JoLIE 8/2015


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Rodica Gabriela Chira

1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia, Romania






Literary works can be the starting point for an analysis that emphasizes the role of intercultural communication. Marked by the entanglement between her writing talent and her formation (she followed studies in International Relations), Elif Shafak offers to the public novels capable to bridge the gap between close or distant cultures and civilizations. My intention is to analyse one of these novels, namely The Bastard of Istanbul (2006), which aroused heated debates, starting from a definition of intercultural communication and the icebergs’ metaphor. I refer to the constituent elements of this definition as presented by Stella Ting-Toomey (Communicating across cultures, 1999), namely: two persons (or two groups) of different cultures (a very wide definition of culture), in interaction, negotiating a common signifier. In culture, the icebergs’ metaphor, with its visible part resting on the invisible one, places on one side architecture, arts, institutions, behaviour, food, etc., and values, norms, beliefs on the other. Through two big families (Turkish, Armenian), two geographical spaces (Turkey and America), Elif Shafak’s novel (written in English), confronts three civilizations by showing how one can keep his/ her cultural identity without entering in conflict.


Keywords: Intercultural communication; Cultural identity; Elif Shafak; The Bastard of Istanbul.





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How to cite this article: Chira, R. G. (2015). Intercultural communication and literature: Elif Shafak, The bastard of Istanbul. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 8, 7386. DOI:



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