I have conducted seven months of fieldwork among participants and employees at Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue, in Lillehammer, Norway, and have taken part in seminars where dialogue is significant as concept and practice. The interlocutors in this study have background from Afghanistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, United States, some living in these respective countries and some in Norway. Most of the interlocutors have experiences with conflict, and come to the seminars to learn about dialogue techniques, meet people from different sides in a conflict, and to build cooperation between participants, both in diaspora groups in Norway and in their country of origin. This thesis brings forward how knowledge acquired at seminars is understood and applied among interlocutors, and how participating in seminars is experienced.
Taking part in seminars is by participants expressed as connecting and becoming like a family.Furthermore, similarity and difference emerged in identification processes among participants during seminars, for instance in different ways of practicing Islam. I argue that the way interlocutors approach practicing dialogue can be looked upon as a meta-perspective on communication. I argue that these ways of talking create internal jargons of understanding between participants, that I call `dialoging´. Since several participants have backgrounds from conflict areas, I moreover explore possibilities for empathy and resonance within processes where dialogue is central. Among interlocutors in this study, change on a personal level has been described like becoming a new person, or having a personal transformation.Moreover, several of the participants want to use what they learn, for instance starting dialogue initiatives in their countries, which underlines a social relevance of the seminars I have studied. Through this empirical study on the significance of dialogue, this thesis aims to fill a knowledge gap in dialogical anthropology, contributing with a processual and relational perspective on how to understand dialogue.
Key words: dialogue, training seminar, similarity and difference, conflict, communication processes, personal and social change, empathy, resonance, peacebuilding, peace education.