ASILE conference presentation:
Critical Intra-Cultural Awareness: The Role of Intra-cultural Dimensions in Intercultural Encounters
In this paper I critique the notion of multiculturalism in Australian society and the proliferation of the term ‘intercultural understanding’ in education, to explore intra-cultural dimensions of interculturalism. Drawing from data of a study of Australian language learners of Indonesian, I contrast a dialectical view of the cultural other as necessarily different from the self with a dialogical response that positions the self in a shared space of in-between-ness with the cultural other. Recognising the importance of critical self-reflexivity in intercultural encounters, I draw attention to intra-cultural dimensions of interculturalism. The inherent fluidity of identity enables one to split the individual self from the cultural collective self and creates possibilities for engaging the cultural other in a dynamic third space where identity positions are negotiated as relational acts. This highlights the difference between cross-cultural interaction that seeks to maintain identity boundaries with intercultural interaction where identity boundaries dissolve in a third space of interaction.
Dr Alistair Welsh is a lecturer in Indonesian language at Deakin University. He has worked in various Indonesian/Malay socio-cultural contexts and is engaged in interdisciplinary research. Alistair’s primary research interests include cultural perceptions and intercultural experiences of Australian university students, with a focus on those who study in Indonesian in-country language programs.
Dr Alistair Welsh