20 SES 05 JS, Intercultural Practices
Joint Session with NW 07
Nationally and internationally great attention is paid to the challenges of multiculturality (UFD, 2007-2009). In Europe we are experiencing increased immigration, both between European countries but also from other continents. National and international policymakers (UN) express a desire to develop communities that embrace the new diversity in the population. UNESCO´s declaration from Salmanca of 1994 emphasises the principle of inclusion. It is stated that it is the schools and teaching that have to adapt to the diversity of the pupils to ensure that all students are included (UFD, 2003).
Schools are considered especially important socializing institutions since students spend a lot of time in them, and it is a central arena where students from different of ethnic backgrounds meet. From the standpoint of education in the Norwegian context when ethnic “others” (students) attend the education school system it often implies an encounter with completely unknown pedagogical practices. Secondary school is not only a meeting place for young people based on diversity. It is also a space where differences and subjectivity are formed.
In pedagogical practices in multicultural student groups two stories often come up: “The Great History of Concern” and “the Great History of Negation” (Staunæs 2004). The first story treats the “ethnic others” as culturally inappropriate. In the second story the cultural differences are pointed to, but nevertheless treated as irrelevant. In such manner, the differences are disallowed. What both stories have in common is that “otherness” is treated as natural, predetermined and static. Staunæs (2004) breaks with this understanding, as she emphasizes the process. In this context she refers to three metatheoretical principles.
Intersectionality emphasizes the question of power and equity. Intersectionality implies to illuminate the reciprocal construction of social categories and the hierarchy between them. Analyses of intersectionality demand inclusion of the majority. This means that you have to do research on both minority and majority, and the relation between them. The third principle, destabilization, refers to a rejection regarding the existing power relations as given, for example the dominating culture and the existing economic structure. These principles for working with identity processes are also central for illuminating how the demarcation of similarities and differences contribute to the students´ subjectivation. Staunæs (2004) refers to subjectivation as a two-sided process where the subject is active, but also determined by its contextual conditions. In this context Foucault´s (1999) understanding of power is relevant.
The problem statement of the study is: How do different pedagogical practices open and close for student’s opportunities to shape their identity in multicultural settings?
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