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Interculturality Beyond Its Own Limits

Epistemological and Ethical-political Proposals

Patricia Mata-Benito

Interculturality has been consolidated as an analytical category which is key in studies and discussions related to both the disciplines of Anthropology and of Education, particularly in the Latin American arenas. This article intends, first, to deepen the reflection on the paradoxes and ambiguities that the intercultural approach is currently facing due to the dominance of the discourses and strategies of multiculturalism in social and educational practices internationally. Second, it discusses some of the theoretical contributions in Anthropology and Education towards the definition of an epistemological framework for ethnographic research in the area of Education. Lastly, it discusses the ethical and political implications of research in Education using the intercultural approach.

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Carmen Osuna

Bolivia is currently immersed in the Education Revolution, based on the implementation of a socio-community education system built upon a series of principles, among which intracultural, intercultural and pluri-lingual education is a fundamental pillar. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork from 2008 to 2010 in a school that put into practice some of these postulates. This article focuses on the articulation of curriculum content, practice and new education policies. The school claimed to carry out what the new law proposed in the context of intraculturalism, interculturalism and multilingualism. This study focused on the articulation of practice and curriculum in the school, regarding the tenets of the new law, and the consequences in relation to racism and essentialization of culture.

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Statehood and Intercultural Dialogue

Study of Slovenian Transition

Peter Simoničm

Contemporary political rituals have been a neglected topic in Slovenian ethnology and anthropology. This article presents celebrations of Slovenian statehood in the period of transition - from 1991 to the present - which were being organised in the Republic Square (Trg Republike) and cultural centre Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana, and have been outlining the components of Slovenian political mythology and offering solutions for the new national future. The analysis is focused on the holders of political, cultural and media systems. It attempts to disclose the significance and use of the concept of intercultural dialogue in contemporary Slovenian society by exploring the relationship between ritual and its social background.

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Gunther Dietz and Laura Mateos Cortés

Multicultural discourse has reached Latin American higher education in the form of a set of policies targeting indigenous peoples. These policies are strongly influenced by the transfer of European notions of 'interculturality', which, in the Mexican context, are understood as positive interactions between members of minority and majority cultures. In Mexico, innovative and often polemical 'intercultural universities or colleges' are being created by governments, by NGOs or by pre-existing universities. This trend towards 'diversifying' the ethnocultural profiles of students and curricular contents coincides with a broader tendency to force institutions of higher education to become more 'efficient', 'corporate' and 'outcome-oriented'. Accordingly, these still very recently established 'intercultural universities' are often criticised as being part of a common policy of 'privatisation' and 'neoliberalisation' and of developing curricula particular to specific groups which weakens the universalist and comprehensive nature of Latin American public universities. Indigenous leaders, on the contrary, frequently claim and celebrate the appearance of these new higher education opportunities as part of a strategy of empowering actors of indigenous origin or African descent.

Going beyond this polemic, this paper presents the first findings of an activist anthropological and ethnographically-based case study of the actors participating in the configuration of one of these new institutions of higher education, the Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural (UVI), located on the Mexican gulf coast. This article examines the way UVI has appropriated the discourse of interculturality on the basis of fieldwork conducted in the four indigenous regions where the UVI offers a B.A. in Intercultural Management for Development. The study focuses on the actors' teaching and learning practices, which are strongly shaped by an innovative and hybrid mixture of conventional university teaching, community-oriented research and 'employability'-driven development projects.

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Hugh Starkey and Nicola Savvides

This article evaluates ways in which students on an online Master's programme are learning about citizenship and developing intercultural awareness in spite of the lack of face-to-face interaction. There is still debate about the effectiveness of online courses and whether they provide an adequate substitute for, or even an improvement on, classroom-based learning. We employ qualitative research methods and deploy instruments for analysing constructivist learning to evaluate the extent to which students are constructing knowledge through online discussions as well as learning from research-led teaching materials. We also analyse online discussions for evidence of social presence, including the interventions of the course tutor. We conclude that students do feel themselves to be members of an international learning community and that their interactions can promote higher-order learning. We draw attention to some advantages of online courses such as the possibility of crafting a contribution and the availability of discussions as a resource.

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Interculturality

Where Do We Go From Here?

Jennifer Lucko and Alicia Re Cruz

This issue provides striking examples of how current educational policies and practices play a fundamental role in processes that constitute immigrant and ethnic minority children as ‘others’. This collective compendium not only interweaves theory and practice but also initiates a trans-Atlantic conversation about intercultural education embracing ethnographic cases from North America (Texas), South America (Bolivia) and Europe (Spain). These conversations lead towards an interesting exercise of similarities and differences in how interculturality is used and understood in the classroom, based on the local fluid composition of ideological, ethnic, political and economic factors.

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Governance of or through culture?

Cultural policy and the politics of culture in Europe

Banu Karaca

The notion of culture has loomed large in discourses and polemics regarding European integration and immigration in the European framework. While culture, as in fundamental cultural difference, is identified as the source of contemporary political quandaries, its incarnation as intercultural dialogue is conceived as their solution. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the arts settings of Berlin and Istanbul, this article elucidates how this type of "culture talk" intersects with recent cultural policy formations in the European Union and the national arenas of Germany and Turkey. Much of the political productivity of culture arises from a constant slippage between the different, often contradictory, meanings accorded to the culture-concept. This extension of the "rhetoric of culture" engenders a shift from a governance of culture to one through culture by relaying an array of pressing political concerns from the realm of social and economic policy to that of culture in the sense of artistic expression.

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René Devisch

Since the early 1970s, the author has been working among the poverty-stricken Yaka people in rural southwestern Congo and suburban Kinshasa. A descendant of a colonizing society, the author sought immersion in a particular Congolese community and later in suburban Kinshasa, as well as insights from within the host group's own rationale and perceptions. Through reciprocal fascination and compassionate encounter, hosts and anthropologists transfer onto each other images, longings, and thoughts that in many ways are unconsciously biased. The self-reflective experience of integration in other life-worlds has helped the author to self-critically scrutinize his own native Belgian socio-cultural matrix. The article advocates a type of post-colonial and psychoanalytically inspired anthropology that urges self-critical understanding of definitions of self-creation in relation to alterity constructs. Any further development of psychoanalytically informed anthropology, or of culture-sensitive psychoanalysis, should draw on this understanding of co-implication and intercultural polylogue, thereby allowing these disciplines to transcend their Eurocentric antecedents.

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Eva Lezzi

This article investigates the recurring patterns in narration and visual aesthetics with which the Shoah is commemorated in children's literature. On the one hand, the essay undertakes an intercultural comparison of the differing iconographic, narrative and commemorative structures found in the varying contexts of publication, i.e. in Germany, other European countries and the United States. On the other hand, the author analyses the heterogeneous figurations and experiences of childhood on three levels of textuality: the representation of children living in the Third Reich, the intergenerational communication taking place between the narrator - often of the grandparents' generation - and the reader, and the construction of implied child readers of the picture books today.

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Softening culture, opening Europe

The European Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue

Jeff Katcherian

This article examines the development of cultural policy recommendations, in the form of “soft law,” by the Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, a nascent European civil society collaboration aiming to make culture a separate political endeavor within the context of European integration. Drawing on fieldwork among European bureaucrats and members of European civil society in Brussels, Belgium, the article offers an alternative discussion from common understandings of soft law, paying close attention to law as an aesthetic form that challenges dominant modes of policy-making. An investigation of soft forms of law provides a useful perspective to those who attempt to define, locate, and create European identity.