The Construction of Cultural Boundaries and Identities in Intercultural Communication: The Case of Mardin as a Multicultural City

Engin SARI


In this paper, I highlight issues of cultural identity in Mardin, which is a multicultural city having different ethnic groups (Sunni Muslim Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Orthodox and Catholic Syrians, Chaldeans, Armenians) living together for many centuries in southeastern Turkey. The data used here are based on an ethnographic research of interculturality focusing on the questions of how symbolic boundaries related to cultural identity are drawn in daily cultural discourse and the ways in which discursive struggles over these boundaries and cultural meanings are defined. This study suggests that boundaries are drawn by cultural distinctions, which themselves construct cultural identity by including and/or excluding cultural peculiarities. The characteristics that are attributed to cultural identities and intercultural relationships become a matter of political struggle since they are under the influence of power relations. Cultural identity has no essence but is a political construction formed by intercultural interactions.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Cultural Identity; Interculturality; Intercultural Communication; Symbolic Boundaries

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