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In the Name of Interculturality: On Colonial Legacies in Intercultural Education
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)In: British Educational Research Journal, ISSN 0141-1926, E-ISSN 1469-3518, Vol. 41, no 3, 520-534 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper scrutinises the ways in which students who have completed a university course on interculturality distinguish between sameness and otherness in attempts to integrate, relate to and build a bridge to those deemed culturally different. It makes use of interviews to analyse the factors that shape the interpretation of otherness and difference in the students’ definitions of interculturality, as well as their statements about the relationships between us and them, and descriptions of instances of learning and teaching that have taken place between parties in different parts of the world. Theoretically, the paper is based on a postcolonial framework, highlighting the continuing influence of colonialism and Eurocentric ways of reasoning inside as well as outside the classroom in today’s society. One of the main conclusions of the paper is that in the process of transferring knowledge, there is a risk that the history of modern Europe will be sanctioned as the historical trajectory for the rest of the world to follow, with the accompanying supposition that this can only be made possible by extending a helping hand to the Other.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015. Vol. 41, no 3, 520-534 p.
National Category
Educational Sciences Cultural Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106243DOI: 10.1002/berj.3153ISI: 000356625000009OAI: diva2:714934

On the day fo the defence date, the status of this article was Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-04-30 Created: 2014-04-30 Last updated: 2015-08-06Bibliographically 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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