Anxiety / Uncertainty Management in Intercultural Communication with Sunnis: a Narrative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD student, Faculty of Islamic Studies Culture and Communication, Imam Sadiq (AS) University, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Faculty of Islamic Studies Culture and Communication, Imam Sadiq (AS) University, Tehran, Iran


Communications between the Shia and Sunni Muslims can be studied in the field of intercultural communication due to the differences between these two groups in various fields, including culture. The theory of Anxiety/Uncertainty Management (AUM) in effective communication is one of the new theories of intercultural communication aims at managing the anxiety and uncertainty in our interaction with a stranger (other) and keeping it at a desirable level - somewhere between the maximum and minimum threshold – so that a kind of effective communication with ‘other’ can be established. Through investigating the Shiite narration sources and using the thematic analysis method in the framework of Anxiety/Uncertainty Management (AUM) theory of effective communication, this study has tried to examine the speech and conduct of the infallibles (Peace Be Upon Them) in their interactions with Sunnis in order to achieve a paradigm for the enhancement of the convergence and rapprochement between Shiites and Sunnis and reduction of the differences. As a result of the analysis of the collected narrations, 38 initial themes, 16 organizing themes, and five inclusive themes were identified. The identified inclusive themes, accordingly considered as the main pivots of anxiety management / uncertainty in intercultural communication with Sunnis, are: empathy with Sunnis, modesty of speech and avoiding any derogatory language and any insult towards their holy things, good companionship with them, attending their religious ceremonies, and avoiding any arrogance towards the Sunnis and avoiding acquitting them.


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