07 SES 03 A, Intercultural Education
Nothing is more powerful and effective than unspoken agreements and implicit rules (cf. Bentham 1995). They maximize the efficacy of institutions due to their subtle and unseen forces and stabilize institutional processes. Taboos represent such influential phenomena (cf. Douglas 2003). From a sociological, anthropological and religious point of view, taboos are resistant to change and regulate behaviour in social communities (cf. Tabor 2007, p. 21). Correspondingly, taboos build identity and aim at various forms of inclusion and exclusion. In a culture specific meaning, taboos or rather taboo breaches show who belongs and who does not belong to a particular social group (cf. Lewis 1996, p. 164). Against this background, taboos can be seen as unspoken social conventions at Austrian Universities, giving especially way at mechanisms of exclusion. Neither of these mechanisms involves much reﬂection, which implies that students and employees with a certain cultural or social background are often discriminated in a hidden manner. Furthermore, study programs and educational legislation sometimes have unintended consequences which may lead to institutional discrimination.
Since taboos and their exclusion mechanisms are normally not the topic of open discussions but largely internalized, any form of critical questioning is realized, if at all, only through taboo breaches (cf. Horlacher et al., 2010). Taboo breaches or transgressions, arising out of the violation of tacit agreements, necessarily help to justify own behavioural orientations, reflect self-evident value judgments and support the rethinking of personal expectations (cf. Agostini & Köffler 2017). As a result, they keep the unique opportunity for change and innovation, including the power to transform professional actions and making European educational systems more inclusive.
As little research has been carried out on taboos and their exclusion mechanisms in formal educational contexts so far, there is an urgent need for further analysis. Therefore, the main intention of the presented research project is to shed light on the exclusion and inclusion potential of taboos at universities. In a transdisciplinary research project at the University of Innsbruck in 2016/17, it has been therefore asked:
· What role do taboos play for the structures of exclusion and inclusion in formal educational contexts?
· Which different mechanisms of exclusion (or of inclusion as exclusion) can be found in the context of universities in Austria?
· How can those structures and processes of exclusion and inclusion get visible for educational processes and educational research, as both a scholarly and a public theme?
Dealing with taboos as unspoken social conventions at Austrian universities, the main objectives of the project were to make taboos and their exclusion mechanisms visible and provoke taboo breaches through the creation of a short film named "s p o n d e o – Lost Oaths in Academia". The depiction and implementation of topics such as homelessness, intimacy, sexual assault, drug abuse and suicide finds thinking opportunities through aesthetics as a contested domain committed to newness and innovation as well as to criticism and pluralistic thought.
Granting films the ability to constitute a discursive field in which even marginalized, aberrant voices can articulate themselves, films become an extraordinarily privileged medium for the depiction and analysis of such phenomena (cf. Tabor 2007, p. 125). Thus, the transdisciplinary research project "Border Crossing in Dialogue", which was realized in cooperation with a group of 25 students, an Italian artist and a Bavarian filmmaker within the framework of a two-semester seminar in 2016/2017 at the University of Innsbruck, tried to tell a story about unspoken social conventions and their exclusion and inclusion mechanisms at Austrian universities, which have often remained hidden from social discourse. Following the concept of photovoice (cf. Wang & Burris 1997), the project team gave students a ‘filmvoice’, visualizing what they felt about being a student in Austria and having to cope with a series of grievances. The film offers hidden clues, which reveal that the protagonist is homeless, being confronted with the abyss of academic life – peeping through windows and slightly left open doors, underlying that what she comes to see is socially intolerable. Historical recordings pop up like flashlights, provoking the confluence of the present and past history. Overall, the film portrays a fragmented and fast-moving academic world, which only touches a variety of issues so that the viewers are forced to use their imagination to think the storyline to an end. "S p o n d e o" does not answer any questions, rather coming up with a punch of question marks which should initiate a discussion in words about taboos and their exclusion and inclusion mechanisms afterwards.
The artistic research project investigated the nature of educational taboos as well as social mechanisms and how they are preserved or overridden in formal educational contexts by using the medium of film. As a result, four mechanisms of exclusion have been identified as particularly important in academic educational contexts: gender discrimination (based on stereotyping), institutional discrimination (e. g. exclusion of the Jews/Germans at Austrian universities in history), hierarchies (e. g. between professors and students, between separated and ethnically homogeneous groups) and homelessness (e. g. unemployment after graduating). The results are relevant for all European educational systems, e. g. intercultural communication, social justice, equality, equity and equal opportunities, and can be used for teachers’ professional development and the improvement of school programmes in Europe. Moreover, the film can be used as a didactical instrument to make the role, which taboos play for the structures of inclusion and exclusion in formal educational contexts, visible. It is hoped that this aesthetic approach of shedding light on unspoken rules provoke consequences, which promote changes in society at a macro level by initiating changes in schools at the meso level.
Agostini, E. & Köffler, N. M. (2017). Schule und Tabu. Eine theoretische Grundlegung aus psychoanalytischer, soziologischer und bildungswissenschaftlicher Perspektive. Erziehung und Unterricht, 167(1-2), 16-25. Bentham, J. (1995). The Panopticon writings. Ed. and intro. M. Bozovic. London: Verso. Douglas, M. (2003). Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. Collected Works, vol. 2. London: Routledge. Horlacher, S., Glomb, S. & Heiler, L. (Eds.). (2010). Taboo and Transgression in British Literature from the Renaissance to the Present. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Lewis, R. D. (1996). Handbuch internationaler Kompetenz. Mehr Erfolg durch den richtigen Umgang mit Geschäftspartnern weltweit. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. Tabor, J. (2007). Tabu und Begehren. Metaphern einer Revolte. Wien: Passagen. Wang, C. & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior, 24, 369-387.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.