Using ethnographic evidence on asylum proceedings for refugee recognition from various sources (Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, and Canada), this paper updates Gumperz’s notion of crosstalk by exploring the massively flexible and multilingual nature of late-modern communication as epitomized in one of the most complex adjudication procedures performed by Western nation-states. Every year thousands of displaced people seek the protection of various European countries by filing asylum claims, which are examined by national commissions. This paper explores how the problematic nature of these encounters can be traced to the nature of late-modern communication, characterized as it is by asymmetrical power, multiple communicative agents with competing agendas, multilingual and hybridized talk, and creolized forms of interaction.
Jacquemet, M. (2011). Crosstalk 2.0: asylum and communicative breakdowns. Text & Talk, 31(4), 475-497.