Lumumba, Hammerskjoeld and the 1960 Congo Crisis: a Case of International Misunderstanding?

Author Biography

Jan Blommaert, Seminar of Swahili and the Development of Languages of Developing Nations Ghent University

Seminar of Swahili and the Development of Languages of Developing Nations

Main Article Content

Jan Blommaert (Seminar of Swahili and the Development of Languages of Developing Nations Ghent University)

Published May 14, 1990

Abstract

A number of influential works on the 1960 Congo Crisis, as well as most theoretical models of intercultural communication, consistently explain conflicts between cul- turally different participants in terms of features of ethnic communication style, cognition, value systems etc. A general picture emerges in which culture is seen as the cause of conflicts, misunderstandings, or communication breakdown. An ana- lysis of six letters exchanged between Lumumba and Hammarskjoeld during one of the crucial episodes of the Congo Crisis reveals that ethnic features of communica- tion style are the consequence, rather than the cause of conflicts.

KEY WORDS: Congo (Zaïre), history, linguistics 


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