Sun 9.2.


Lecture about criticism on the term “culture” and “transcultural” from an expert; afterwards discussion

Reflections of the individual idea of the own and other cultures/ identites (Method: Flower of Cultures)

Reflections of the meaning of Cultures and Interculturality in Europe (Method: Groupdiscussion) 


Visit of the “The Story of Berlin”-Museum



9 thoughts on “Sun 9.2.

  1. Transcultural lession
    Beate Flechtker, 9.2.2014
    Notes by Miikka Kauppinen

    Is everything cultural?

    What is your idea or conception of culture?
    What are the associations?
    I invite you to illustrate your imagination.

    Ethymolgie of ”culture”

    the lexis of ”cult-”
    The linguistic root ”cult-” and its derivations can be found in many dictionaries
    The notion of culture does not exist

    colere (latin) -> cultiver (French)

    to inhabint, to be resident -> ethnos, living environment
    to cultivate, to meliorate -> art, high culture, cultivated, cultural assest, intellevtual culture
    to crop, to farm, to cultivate -> bacterial ulture
    to adore to celebrate -> cult, cultic, cultural heritage

    Implications of ”culture”

    What are the limits of the culture (inclusion/exclusion)
    Who is part of a culture, who isn’t? (belonging/not belonging)
    Who defines? (power)
    Does culture have hierarchy? – We seem to think that way.

    The normative notion of culture

    In Ancient Rome: cultura/cultus = nature related human activities + the religious, educatuonal, artist and scientific conditions of human life
    In the middle-ages: The cultivation of land
    The normative notion developped in times of Reneissance -> led to thinking culture as an achievement instead of natural perspective
    Immanuel Kant: distingueshed ”culture” and ”civilisation” – connects culture and morality
    ”Civilisation is to own a fork, culture is to use it”
    Platos cave allegory – the one who knows the truth should tell the others

    The static notions of culture

    Concept of homogenous, demarcated (rajattu) national cultures
    Herder’s conception: cultures as balls or islans, detachted, not overlapping

    Herders culture is: (like billiard balls)
    social homogenous
    ethnically founded
    inter-cultural separated

    The dynamic notion of Culture

    Ludwig Wittgenstein: ”Culture is, where one finds a shared praxis of life.”
    The task is to interact
    Culture is open for new connections
    ”All cultures are partly due their character of authority, entangled into each other; no one is insular and pure, all are hybrid, heterogeneous highly differenciated and not monolithique”

    Bhabha talks about the ”third space” – What is between the duality? It’s like a bridge. Who stays in the bridge?


    There is no separation between ”on” and the ”stange” any more, instead you find the ”own” within the ”strange” and the ”strange” within the ”own.”


    notion appeared first in Canada in 1971 to describe a social aim

    The discours is based on cultural differences the discours focuses cultural differenes

    The expectation is: migrants have to adapt to the imaginations of the dominant culture.

    The result is: a separated coexistence of cultures (melting pot)


    The notion interculturality appeared first 1924 in the USA.
    Strategy away from acculturation via melting pot towards regocnition of cultural diversity.
    Second appearence was after WWII.
    Historical context: Marshall plan, cold war, stabilisation of global US hegemony, foundation of world bank and International Monetary Fond ”New world order”
    -> Need for internationally operating experts.

    Edward T. Hall

    On the other hand: the term signalises the will to live together
    a kind of rescue program for the conflictually experienced multiculturalism

    The risks and pitfalls of intercultural conceptions:

    to reduce social groups too fast on national cultures
    to focus on culture and to ignore special, juridical and political dimensions
    to focus on the differences of cultures what could be the gateway for culturalism or cultural racism


    Philosophy: human being is a cultural being
    Social sciences: overestimating culture compared to other factors
    Critical racism: differential of cultures

    Cultural racism

    = a racism without using the notion ”race”
    After WWII awereness that ”races” are social and political contructs -> denial of race theories
    BUT: Racist ways of thinking did not disappear
    Still people are differenciated and categorised -> judgements
    argumentation was adopted and modernised: there is no notion of race any more but the notion of culture
    The notion of culture too over the images of races
    Central figures
    cultural differences are irreversible
    Cultural differences are ”natural”
    …are incompatible
    cultural gropus – constructed as counter-groups – are homogenous
    Neo-racism: ”Western civilisations” are endangered byt the expansion of other cultures
    hence: reactions of defence are ”natural” and necessary. Works as legimitation of:
    claims of assimilation or return
    racist motivated violence
    deportation as positive measure in the own intrest of the deported

    Clash of civilisations by Huntington

    And now?

    Develop a multi-perspectivity a perspective sensitive to differences

    Culturality is one of many socio-politically articulated differences (race, class, gender, age, sex…)

    -> do not focus cultural difference, but culturality as a political difference

    Express cultural plurality, without fading out social, political and…

    • I found the use of the diversity argument that national movements use in order to legitimize themselves very interesting as an example of fluidity of terms and theories. Also, a tendency has already been noticed in various spaces, where the extreme right movement use arguments and methods usually specific to the left in order to either hijack protests or movements or general opinions. They become harder to spot inside the public discourse and manage to carry hate speech more easily. It seems that nationalist groups have given up this strategy of creating bipolar positioning and counter-groups, but they camouflage borrowing from other discourses and narratives. An interesting text from a Jungian psychoanalyst on the subject:

  2. The lecture was quite good to solve some doubts i had about inter, multi and transcultural issues.
    We had a theoretical approach and also a exercise that made us reflect about our belongings and how they are connected with our power and privileges.
    For me it was a process that conducted me to a higher level of awareness and also gratitude.
    Thanks very much

    How can we get inspired my differently organized and successful projects and build new transcultural ones? Important shared tips: to framework the projects in advance, even if the project is process oriented it is important to consider the product, as also the need to engage – with the communities we’re working with and within the environments in which the transcultural project might be contextualized.

    The dynamic lecture on multi-, inter-, trans-culture has been very rich, requiring us to understand that we are positioned in cultural and power terms, and that we might deepen our comprehension of an integrated, non dualistic culture, developing multiperspectivity. The session ended with a pair exercise on “the identity flower”, allowing us to reflect upon the main dimensions of belonging in our own and in our pair’s life – a very good instrument to “internalize” some of the previous transcultural reflections.

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