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Three Texts on Intercultural Education and a Critique of Border Drawing
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This essay explores the ways in which boundaries of estrangement are produced in the academic literature assigned for courses on interculturality. As the existence of interculturality is dependent on the ascription of content to culture, since the notion, by definition, always involves more than one singular culture, this essay seeks to provide an answer to the question of what this literature implicitly defines in terms of sameness vis-à-vis otherness and thereby chart the conditions for becoming intercultural. This question is especially important because theself in interculturality has to be, in principle, generalizable: it should be such that it signifies a position available for occupation by anybody with proper training in this approach. Starting from the assumption that different experiences, languages and identities, under the name of culture already intersect, and are contaminated by, one another, and are therefore already intercultural before being subjected to study under the auspices of ‘interculturality’ as an educational topic, the essay goes on toproblematize the way in which interculturality tends to construe sameness and difference along national lines and does little to cater for multiple, as opposed to national, or other unified, identities.

National Category
Educational Sciences Cultural Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106244OAI: diva2:714935
Available from: 2014-04-30 Created: 2014-04-30 Last updated: 2014-04-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Impossible Interculturality?: Education and the Colonial Difference in a Multicultural World
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Impossible Interculturality?: Education and the Colonial Difference in a Multicultural World
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An increasing number of educational policies, academic studies, and university courses today propagate ‘interculturality’ as a method for approaching ‘the Other’ and reconciling universal values and cultural specificities. Based on a thorough discussion of Europe’s colonial past and the hierarchies of knowledge that colonialism established, this dissertation interrogates the definitions of intercultural knowledge put forth by EU policy discourse, academic textbooks on interculturality, and students who have completed a university course on the subject. Taking a decolonial approach that makes its central concern the ways in which differences are formed and sustained through references to cultural identities, this study shows that interculturality, as defined in these texts, runs the risk of affirming a singular European outlook on the world, and of elevating this outlook into a universal law. Contrary to its selfproclaimed goal of learning from the Other, interculturality may in fact contribute to the repression of the Other by silencing those who are already muted. The dissertation suggests an alternative definition of interculturality, which is not framed in terms of cultural differences but in terms of colonial difference. This argument is substantiated by an analysis of the Latin American concept of interculturalidad, which derives from the struggles for public and political recognition among indigenous social movements in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. By bringing interculturalidad into the picture, with its roots in the particular and with strong reverberations of the historical experience of colonialism, this study explores the possibility of decentring the discourse of interculturality and its Eurocentric outlook. In this way, the dissertation argues that an emancipation from colonial legacies requires that we start seeing interculturality as inter-epistemic rather than simply inter-cultural.

Abstract [sv]

Fokus för denna avhandling är spridningen av begreppet interkulturalitet inom utbildning. Utbildningspolicy, akademisk litteratur och mängden kurser i högre utbildning ägnade åt begreppet vittnar alla om dess betydelse i försöken att förena det kulturellt partikulära med det universella. Med Europas koloniala förflutna i åtanke och dess skapande av hierarkier mellan vad som definieras som kunskap, ämnar denna avhandling undersöka vilka kunskaper som krävs för att bli interkulturell. Syftet är framför allt att besvara frågan vad som händer med interkulturalitet om kulturella skillnader istället förstås som koloniala skillnader. Utifrån ett dekolonialt perspektiv som fokuserar på hur skillnader skapas och upprätthålls utifrån föreställningar om kulturella identiteter, analyseras EU-policy, akademisk litteratur samt intervjuer med studenter som avklarat en kurs i interkulturalitet. Analysen visar på hur interkulturalitet, i dess nuvarande tappning, riskerar fastna i en singulär europeisk utblick på världen upphöjd till universell lag. Snarare än att mildra eller förändra maktrelationer och skapa möjligheter till mellanmänskliga möten, riskerar därför interkulturaliteten att bidra till fortsatt förtryck av den som anses kulturellt annorlunda. En alternativ utgångspunkt står att finna i en annan översättning av interkulturalitet – interculturalidad – hämtad från ursprungsbefolkningarnas kamp för att bli synliggjorda, att dela makten, på den offentliga arenan i Bolivia, Ecuador och Peru. Genom att lyfta fram begreppet interculturalidad, som just har sitt ursprung i singulariteten och bär med sig själva erfarenheten av kolonialism, tillförs en möjlig distansering från interkulturalitet med dess implicita eurocentrism. Avslutningsvis argumenteras för att befrielse från kolonialismens ok kräver att interkulturalitet omkodas som inter-epistemisk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 106 p.
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 182
Interculturality, multiculturalism, intercultural education, policy, postcolonialism, cultural difference, colonial difference, European Union, interculturalidad, delinking, Interkulturalitet, mångkultur, interkulturell utbildning, policy, postkolonialism, kulturella skillnader, koloniala skillnader, Europeiska Unionen, interculturalidad
National Category
Educational Sciences Cultural Studies
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106245 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-106245 (DOI)978-91-7519-348-9 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-23, 101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-04-30 Created: 2014-04-30 Last updated: 2015-09-22Bibliographically approved

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