Adopting a Critical Intercultural Communication Approach to Understanding Health Professionals’ Encounter with Ethnic Minority Patients

Kirsten Jæger (1)
(1) Department of Culture and Global Studies Aalborg University, Denmark, Denmark


Even in the Scandinavian countries, where welfare resources such as education and healthcare are offered wholly or partly free of charge, health disparities between the majority populations and ethnic minority groups challenge the national healthcare systems. The knowledge levels of health professionals and their approach to ethnic minority patients influence the accessibility of healthcare and availability of health prevention resources of ethnic minorities. When adapting healthcare practice to minority patients, healthcare professionals draw on insights from intercultural communication and anthropology. However, within these disciplines such concepts as culture, interculturality, and ethnicity are subjected to contestation due to co-existing, but competing paradigms. This paper demonstrates how healthcare discourses on ethnic minority patients reflect shifting intercultural communication paradigms and advocates the adoption of a critical intercultural communication approach in relation to ethnicity-based health inequality.

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Kirsten Jæger
(Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Kirsten Jæger, Department of Culture and Global Studies Aalborg University, Denmark

Associate professor in Intercultural Studies, Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University. Since 2008, involved in the esearch project Talking Culture, whiwh aims at uncovering discursive patterns in professionals’ communication on culture and cultural difference. Member of the newly established Center of Health Communication at Aalborg University. Current research areas: Discursive constructions of culture and cultural difference in healthcare settings; workplace diversity and diversity management; cultural biases in Danish teacher education.

Jæger, K. (2012). Adopting a Critical Intercultural Communication Approach to Understanding Health Professionals’ Encounter with Ethnic Minority Patients. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 12(2), 1–15.

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