Constructing meaning from the unfamiliar: Implications for critical intercultural education
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Communication in intercultural settings often involves being exposed to unfamiliar cultural signifiers and the use of differing cultural schemas to interpret these signifiers. The continuing legacy of colonialism, together with inequalities of economic and political power among both nations and cultural groups within nations, create the potential for discourses of othering to negatively affect communication in culturally diverse contexts. This chapter reveals findings from an interpretivist study of how meanings of unfamiliar music and languages were constructed by non-African members of four African music groups in Western Australia. Discourses of othering, together with discourses of inclusion, were observed in these meaning-making processes. The chapter relates the processes of construction of meaning observed in these contexts to the increasingly intercultural educational settings in Australia, as well as to other culturally diverse contexts.
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