Call for Papers

ESTIDIA (European Society for Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Dialogue)

4th ESTIDIA Conference

Dialogues without Borders: Strategies of Interpersonal and Inter-group Communication

29-30 September 2017

Faculty of Philosophy

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”

Sofia, Bulgaria

in partnership with

Institute of Rhetoric and Communications, Sofia

Centre for New Media and Transdisciplinary Dialogue, Constanţa

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”


 The 4th ESTIDIA conference, to be held on 29-30 September, 2017, is hosted by Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the oldest higher education institution in Bulgaria, founded in 1888, which has been consistently ranked as the top university in the country according to national and international rankings. The conference serves as a discussion forum for researchers and practitioners to showcase their dialogue-oriented work on current societal and community-related issues, and on methodological approaches to dialogue and strategies of interpersonal and inter-group Communication. The aim is to bring together senior and junior scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and professional orientations to critically explore, through dialogue, different perspectives on human thinking, communication strategies, interpersonal relations, socio-cultural traditions, political processes and business interactions by means of theory-based and practice-driven investigations.

Conference Theme

Most of the world’s population – and Europe is a case in point – lives in contexts that are becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural. Travel across national boundaries is becoming an everyday activity for many, and new technologies allow individuals to communicate easily and cheaply across such boundaries, even if they stay at home. Meanwhile, hostilities between ethnic, national, religious, and other groups do not seem to be decreasing, but on the contrary, are being kindled by extremist groups and totalitarian leaders. To oppose, prevent and do away with such negative and dangerous developments in the 21st century, it is more important than ever to acquire an in-depth and nuanced understanding of how individuals communicate based on group or community memberships, and how communication allows or encourages group segregation and isolationist tendencies. It is languages – verballanguage, sign language, body language –that constitutethe basic channels of communication through which group stereotypes can be tolerated, changed, and/or resisted.

While the dynamics of interpersonal and intergroup relations has been a recurrent topic in several disciplines, such as psychology, social psychology (Tajfel 1978, 1982; Haslam et al 1998; Bar-Tal 2000) and political science (Sherif 1966; Pennebaker et al. 1997; Sidanius & Pratto 2001), research on communication and miscommunication in interpersonal and intergroup interaction has been conducted primarily within the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics anthropology, rhetoric and communication studies (Hymes 1964; Gumperz 1971; Gudykunst 1998; Gudykunst & Mody 2002; Giles 2012; Berger 2014). A major advantage of these research strands lies in their intergroup perspective that considers people not only as individuals, but also as members of social groups (in terms of e.g., gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, region), and investigates the ways in which various social group memberships relate to the way that we communicate with each other.

A major goal of this conference is to bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in sharing their expertise and in discussing and comparing their extensive empirical and theoretical findings, so as to achieve a synergy and a cross-fertilisation of perspectives and approaches that highlight the role of communication practicesin dealing with challenging situations emerging in interpersonal and intergroup encounters in 21st century societies.

Consequential work on intergroup issues was inspired by the development of social identity theory, initiated by Tajfel and Turner (1986), who explained that an individual does not just have a personal selfhood, but multiple selves and identities associated with their affiliated groups, and therefore the individual might act differently in varying social contexts according to the groups they belong to, which might include a sports team they follow, their family, their country of nationality, and the neighborhood they live in, among many other possibilities. A major finding of social identity theory consists of the insight that social behavior falls on a continuum that ranges from interpersonal behavior to intergroup behavior, since most social situations call for a compromise between these two ends of the spectrum.

The importance of intergroup and interpersonal communication in understanding ongoing societal changes has been highlighted by Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), by exploring the links between language, context, and identity and by examining the reasons why individuals emphasize or minimize the social differences between themselves and their interlocutors through verbal and nonverbal communication (Giles 1977; Giles, Howard, Coupland, J. & Coupland, N. 1991; Gallois, Ogay & Giles 2005). CAT focuses on both intergroup and interpersonal factors that lead to accommodation, as well as the ways in which concerns about power, macro and micro-context affect communication behaviour in various professional settings, such as the medical field (Watson & Gallois 1999; Gasiorek, Van de Poel & Blockmans 2015; Hewett, Watson & Gallois 2015), the legal context (Aronsson, Jönsson & Linell 1987; Gnisci 2005; Davis 2007; Di Conza, Abbamonte, Scognamiglio & Gnisci 2012), and police interrogations (Berk-Seligson 2011), to name but a few. Cultural perspectives on ingroup and intergroup relationsthat have been developed within the framework of the ethnography of communication, strongly rooted in anthropology (Gumperz & Hymes, 1964) have added valuable insights into sources of misunderstanding and asymmetrical communication. Investigations like the ones carried out by Carbaugh, Berry & Nurmikari-Berry, 2006) provide evidence that ways of speaking, behaving and interacting define social and group relationships within and across cultures.

Today many countries, including European countries, are confronted with great challenges following the increasing societal and economic globalization, the internationalisation of cross-border cooperation and the effects of cross-border mobility through the arrival of migrants and refugees. Subtle differences in private or public interaction patterns can result in misunderstandings and disagreements, which can lead to serious conflicts involving local, national and regional actors, groups and communities. Howto avoid misunderstandings and prevent conflicts?Irrespective of the approaches used, dialogue is a must since itrequires and encourages a spirit of inquiry, self-reflection and personal scrutiny. The inclusiveness, open-endedness and long-term perspective of dialogueare necessary prerequisites for building interpersonal, inter-group and inter-community bridges by fostering exchanges of views, bysearching for common ground in cross-border encounters, byacknowledging the value of difference and diversity. This is why we need to encourage research across a diverse range of domains, including language attitudes (accent/language choice), intergenerational communication, communication in health care, family communication, instructional communication, and computer-mediated communication.

The major goal of this international conference is to offer a forum for interdisciplinary and multi-level dialogue among researchers and practitioners in interpersonal and inter-group communication across social-cultural contexts and fields of activity. The questions they are called upon to examine, explore and debate include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How are interpersonal and intergroup relations constructed, de-constructed and re-constructed through multilingual, multi-level and multidimensional communication?
  • To what extent can social rituals and cultural traditions enable, promote or prevent ingroup harmony/disharmony and outgroup inclusion/exclusion?
  • How do the groups people belong to influence the (positive and negative) ingroup-outgroup stereotypes they develop/hold? What role do language and linguistic representations play in spreading or exposing stereotypes?
  • What types of pro-migrant and anti-migrant arguments are being put forward in official media coverage and in the social media? In what ways do they differ and how do they affect individual and group reactions?
  • How do media programmes, advertisemensts,online networking, and other types of multimodal communication impact the (positive and negative) attitudes and emotions of the viewers?
  • What commonalities and what differences can be noticed in the terminology and discourse used to describe individuals and/or groups migrating within or between countries? Which are the recurrent collocations used with regard to categories of people referred to as refugees, migrants, immigrants, expats, asylum seekers, and/or displaced people?
  • What is the role played by digital platforms in reproducing, reinforcing or challenging class and gender systemic inequalities within and across groups?
  • How can digital communication culture contribute to fostering a multidimensional and multidirectional dialogue across groups and communities?
  • In what ways can translation and interpreting serve as bridge-builders across generations, genders, and a wide range of different or mixed cultures?
  • How can the activation of certain social categories and stereotypes influence how we communicate with others, and how can this both facilitate and complicate the interaction between members of different social/cultural/ethnic groups?

We welcome contributions from diverse fields of enquiry, including linguistics, media studies, journalism, cultural studies, psychology, rhetoric, political science, sociology, pedagogy, philosophy and anthropology.


Keynote speakers

Prof.Cornelia Ilie, Malmö University, Sweden,

Prof. Helen Spencer-Oatey, University of Warwick, UK,

Thematic Workshops

In addition to paper presentation, thematic workshops are being organized within theframework of ESTIDIA conferences. Proposals for workshops are invited. They should cover a topic of relevance to the theme of the conference. Proposals should contain relevant information to enable evaluation on the basis of importance, quality, and expected output. Each workshop should have one or more designated organizers. Proposals should be 1-2 pages long and include at least the following information:

  • The workshop topic and goals, their significance, and their appropriateness for ESTIDIA 2017
  • The intended audience, including the research areas from which participants may come, the likely number of participants (with some of their names, if known)
  • Organizers’ details: a description of the main organizers’ research and publication background in the proposed topic; and complete addresses including webpages of the organizers

Abstract Submission

We invite submissions of abstracts for paper presentations (20 minutes for presentation, to be followed by 10 minutes for questions) to be scheduled in parallel sessions.

The abstract should include the name, institutional affiliation and email address of the author(s), the paper title, and four-five keywords. The abstract should be approximately 500 words in length.

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the conference scientific committee according to the following criteria: originality and/or importance of topic; clarity of research question and purpose; data sources; theoretical approach; analytical focus; relevance of findings if already available.

Important Dates

– Submission of abstracts                                       March 20, 2017

– Submission of workshop proposals                             March 30, 2017

– Notification of acceptance                   April 20, 2017

– Registration (early bird)                       July 31, 2017

Email submission to:

Conference website:;

Registration fee


The early bird registration fee (by 31 July 2017) is 70 EUR, late registration fee (after 31 July 2017) is 80 EUR. The ESTIDIA membership fee (10 EUR) will be paid at the conference venue. The conference fee includes the book of abstracts, the published conference proceedings, a conference bag, a welcome cocktail, refreshments/coffee breaks and a guided sightseeing tour of Sofia.

Account holder: Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”

Bank: Bulgarian National Bank

Address: 1, Knyaz Alexander ISq., 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria

IBAN: BG52 BNBG 9661 3100 1743 01


Publication procedure

All accepted papers (following editorial review) will be included in the conference proceedings published in International Journal of Cross-cultural Studies and Environmental Communication (ISSN 2285 – 3324).

Authors of selected high quality papers will be invited to submit their papers for publication in Special Issues and regular issues of relevant high-impact international academic journals.




The 2017 ESTIDIA conference will be hosted by Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria

University website:

How to get to Sofia

Reaching Sofia by plane

Sofia Airport

From the Airport to the City Centre:

By Public Transport – 84Bus Line operates on the route under an all-daytimetable.


By taxi– Foryour comfort and safety, we recommend the services of the taxi operator OK Supertrans AD as contractual partner of SofiaAirport.You can request the service at the offices of OK Supertrans at Arrivals in Terminals 1 and 2.

Tel: +359 2 973 2121

Reaching Sofia by train

Being the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia is connected by railway with important cities in Bulgaria and abroad. International fast trains connect Sofia with several cities in neighbouring countries, such as Tessaloniki, Bucharest, Belgrade, Istanbul.

Railway Ticket Agency Rila


Address:5, Gurko str., Sofia

Telephone: +359 2 987 52 35; +359 2 865 85 12

Fax: +359 2 987 96 96


Central Railway Station of Sofia


Tel: +59 (2) 9324190

Address: 102 Knyaginya Maria Louise Blvd., Sofia

Bus Lines: 213, 214, 305, 313, 404, 413 1, 7, 9 – Tram lines

Taxi: +359 2 973 2121


BusesconnectSofiawithAthens, Amsterdam, Bari, Barcelona, Belgrade, Berlin, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Bucharest, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Kishinev, Hague, Hamburg, Istanbul,London,Liège, Ljubljana, Madrid, Malmö, Odessa, Paris, Rome, Skopje, Stockholm, Venice, Vilnius, Warsaw, Wien.

Bus Companies:Biomet

Central Bus Station

Address: 100 Knyaginya Maria Louise Blvd., Sofia

Tel : +359 090021000

Bus Lines: 213, 214, 305, 313, 404, 413

Tram lines: 1, 7, 9

Bus tickets:


Conference Hotels

Close to Sofia University

Crystal Palace **** Boutique Hotel

Shipka Str. 14, Sofia-sity, 1504, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 2 9 489 489, +359 886 399 504


170 Euros (Single Room), 190 Euros (Double Room)

Special price for 10 rooms on3rd or 4th floor, for a group booking and participants of the conference and preliminary registration or information to the Organizational Committee of the conference before 15 August 2017.

The reservations should be made at the official site of the hotel.

115,00 Euros (Single Room); 135,00 Euros (Double Room)

You will receive an additionaly promo code.



Radisson Blu Grand Hotel ****

4, Narodno Sabranie sq. 1000 Sofia Bulgaria

Tel: +359 2 9334 334


Gigimova, Svetla <>

Hotel Downtown****

27 Vassil Levski Blvd, Sofia, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 2/ 930 52 00


70,00 Euros (Single Room); 47,00 Euros (Double Room)

Rila Hotel ***

Kaloyan Str. 6, Sofia, Bulgaria

Tel.: + 359 2 93 79 136
Mob.: + 359 882 500 315

35,00 Euros (Single Room); 49,00 Euros (Double Room)



Rai Hotel***

Ak. Nikola Obreshkov Str, 61113, Sofia, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 2 971 14 35; +359 2 971 14 43; +359 2 971 14 47


30,00 Euros (Single Room); 45,00 Euros (Double Room)


Booking Websites


Scientific Committee

Argiris Archakis, University of Patras, Greece

Marieta Boteva, St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria

María Calzada Perez, University of Jaume, Spain

Domniţa Dumitrescu, California State University, Los Angeles, USA

Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster, UK

Juliane House, University of Hamburg, Germany

John McKeown, MEF University, Istanbul, Turkey

Ana Maria Munteanu, Ovidius University, Constanţa, Romania

Cezar Ornatowski, San Diego State University, USA

Esther Pascual, School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, China

Daniela Rovenţa-Frumușani, University of Bucharest, Romania

Arie Sover, Ashkelon Academic College and the Open University, Israel

Ariadna Ştefănescu, University of Bucharest, Romania

Maria Stoicheva, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”, Bulgaria

Tolia Stoichova, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria

Katerina Strani, Heriot-Watt University, U.K.

Villy Tsakona, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

Daniel Weiss, University of Zürich, Switzerland

Organising Committee

Ivanka Mavrodieva, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”, Bulgaria – President of the Organsing Committee,;

Teodora Abrasheva, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”, Bulgaria,

Dessislava Antova, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”, Bulgaria,

Antonina Kardasheva, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria,

Anita Nikolova, Sofia University, Bulgaria,;

Georgi Petkov, online editor of Rhetoric and Communications E-journal and member of the Institute of Rhetoric and Communications, Bulgaria,

Stefan Serezliev, St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria,

Todor Simeonov, Sofia University, Bulgaria,

Yanka Tocheva, European Polytechnical University, Bulgaria,


Please check periodically the Conference website or send inquiries to: