07 SES 02 A, Intercultural Education and Identity Development
In recent months we experience a lot of violence in the world, which is based on religion and ethnic prejudices and stereotypes. However, violence is only last stage of a long lasting process of exclusion in these issues. The question is what kind of processes we face and how can we potentially influence them?
We know that ethnic violence is often connected with ethnocentric way of thinking from the literature (Hammer,Bennett & Wiseman, 2003; Shadid, 1998; Samovaret al 2013). People with ethnocentric way of thinking are usually able to take own perspective as the only valuable one. This biased perception does not allow them to integrate also other perspectives, which makes intercultural sensitivity quite difficult in concrete situations.
At the same time it seems that ethnocentrism is one of roots for stereotypes and prejudices which can lead to violence in extreme situations and at the same time it seems that ethnocentrism has also something to do with identity of individuals and groups. They help to strengthen own identity through identification with some groups and taking distance from others (Allport, 1979; Brislin, 1981). But this distance is based on humiliation of others (Allport, 1979; Samovar et al 2013). One of sources of this humiliation seems to be own frustration leading to projection (Allport, 1979; Perls,Hefferline&Goodmann, 2004).
When we take the perspective of how and in which contexts racism, stereotypes and prejudices take place, we come to the issue of group dynamics. What we know is that processes of exclusion from groups have some concrete rundown. At the beginning there are usually some frustrations of individuals (Allport, 1979) and exclusion is more probable in groups with weak leading (Bion, 1959). Weakened group looks for orientation, which is not given by leading and so scapegoats are sought. People with some visible difference like e.g. different skin color are excluded more often (Girard). In case that the situation leads to real exclusion, the group is stabilized for a certain time but then the exclusion keeps going (Girard, 1986) because it is the trait of the group and not of the excluded individual.
This is what we know from the literature. What we do not know exactly is if there are possibilities to stop processes of exclusion when they appear in groups and which strategies help to overcome exclusion in concrete situations. These reasons lead me to formulating following research questions:
What is the link between processes of exclusion, identity and racism in concrete situations?
How can be processes of exclusion identified and influenced?
How can be group dynamics influenced so that processes of exclusion would not take place?
Allport, Gordon, W. (1979). The Nature of Prejudice. Massachusetts: Perseus Books. Bion, W., R. (1959). Experiences in Groups. Tavistock pubications: United States of America. Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non-Actors. New York: Routledge Press, 1992. Brislin, R. (1981). Cross-cultural encounters: Face to face interaction. New York. Girard, Rene (1986). The Scapegoat. Batlimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Hammer, M., R., & Bennett, M., J., & Wiseman, R. (2003). Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: The intercultural development inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 421 – 443. Perls, F. & Hefferline, R., F. & Goodmann, P. (2004). Gestalt terapie. Praha: Triton. Samovar, L.,A.; Porter, R., E.; McDaniel, E., R. & Roy, C., S. (2013). Communication between cultures. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning. Shadid W.A. (1998). Grondslagen van interculturele communicatie. Houten/Diegen.
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