Critical and reflexive languaging in the construction of interculturality as an object of research and practice

Talk by professor Fred Dervin (University of Helsinki) in the Digital series of talks on plurilingualism and interculturality.

Interculturality cannot but be ideological as soon as it is constructed as an object of research, policy and practice. The broad field of interculturality in education has rarely focused on multilingual and intercultural inquiries into its own ideologies. I argue that talking about interculturality in English (as a lingua franca) and other languages requires negotiating, problematizing and critiquing again and again the words and ideas that are attached to it in order to unearth their archeologies and (hidden) economic-political agendas (amongst others).

Instead of ‘brainwashing’ students of interculturality with one or two of ideologies about interculturality (e.g. the dichotomy of essentialism vs. anti-essentialism; the ideologies of intercultural competencesintercultural citizenshipThird Spaceliquid interculturality), they need to be trained to treat discourses of interculturality interculturally and multilingually – doing ‘detective’ work around the ideologies that they are fed with by focusing on e.g. the way they are constructed linguistically and their utterers. The work done by my teams both in China and Finland around what will be referred to as Critical and Reflexive Languaging for Interculturality is discussed.

Fred Dervin has kindly given permission to record his presentation: