07 SES 08 B, International Encounters
The research area on intercultural sojourns and school exchanges have shown to be poorly investigated. Studies that have been carried out on experiences from sojourns are often engaged with higher education and in contrast to those this study involves upper secondary pupils from Chile and Sweden.
The aim is to investigate sojourners intercultural experiences and learning in relation to theories about the Other and the Self. The focus is on how the participants in a retrospective approach express their experiences from a sojourn abroad.
The study is built around two interrelated directions of interest, 1/ the sojourn as educational and formative practice and, 2/ the intercultural meetings in sojourns.
The following research questions are posed in order to meet with this interest and with the overall aim of the study.
- How do the participants elaborate their thoughts about the experience of having taken part in a sojourn, particularly, in relation to aspects of learning?
- In relation to the meetings in the sojourns, how are the intercultural aspects of communication, culture and identity elaborated on and how do they relate to learning?
There are different layer of the study that require slightly different theoretical frameworks. One foot is placed in theories that relate to the intercultural approach in the study. Such works develop more philosophical discussions on the Self and the Other and how they relate to the concepts of culture, identity and communication. Since the study is built around the participants' individual experiences as they are recalled in retrospect, theories that focus on experience are of primary interest. Due to this, another foot is placed in the field of learning and education and the focus is on how the concept of experience is elaborated on within that field. The field on cosmopolitanism might address many different areas of research. Here it is consulted with the intention to combine learning theory with the intercultural strives of the study.
The overarching approach that has been guiding when doing the theoretical as well as methodological considerations are derived from both hermeneutics and how change is understood as inherent to our learning and, also from the postcolonial theory and its approach to power relations. Being a comparative study with an intercultural north-south perspective an awareness of postcolonial relations has been considered important to the whole of the study but also in particular to the interpretations and analysis of the empirical material. Experience being the focus for the analysis is here considered momentous and subject to constant revision and change. Experience is imperfect and subjective. It is a learning in which the Self with its rucksack of previous experiences faces a present and every new day implies new meetings, changes and a new whole is thus constantly created. This oscillation between the known and the not yet known, the whole and the parts lead a hermeneutical understanding of knowledge as always partial and in a state of becoming.
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