Evolving humanity, emerging worlds
Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013
Learning, Education and Knowledge Transmission in Cultural and Intercultural contexts
Location University Place 6.211
Date and Start Time 09 Aug, 2013 at 16:30
The panel discusses the role of education in the transmission of knowledge and skills; (re)production of cultural representations and identities; and maintenance of traditional value systems within communities with respect to their environment.
The explicit aim of education could be defined as the transmission of knowledge and skills. Yet the influences of formal and non-formal education reach beyond the confines of the school or the immediate relationship of teachers and students. As an inherently trans-generational institution, schooling is instrumental in (re)constructing cultural identities, historical memories, and social hierarchies. While traditional Althusserian view holds schools purely in the service of the state, more recent theory recognizes them as sites of contest between wider variety of social actors. The latter include political and religious elites but also, and not insignificantly, teachers, parents, and students. Throughout the era of globalization, schools have been mediators between tradition and modernity, serving as (re)producers of subaltern values as well as agents of dominant ideologies. With the rise of popular movements across the global South, education's role in contests over natural habitats, indigenous knowledge, and traditional livelihoods cannot be overstated. It is therefore important not only to understand historical contexts and explicit curricular aims of educational processes, but to look beyond confines of the school, paying attention to how they are interpreted by different stakeholders. Particularly in trans-cultural encounters, the roles of teacher and student (and, by extension, various social formations underlying these roles), can hold radically different meanings for the respective sides. Likewise, the symbolic repertoires employed in the process of knowledge transmission can resonate differently across cultural divides. By looking at sites of such confrontations that this panel seeks for insights on educational institutions and practices.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Maison du Brésil: the student residence for the Brazilian elite in Paris
In this text I present some thoughts about the Maison du Brésil. My objective is to research this temporary residency for researchers through the meanings that characterize it as a Brazilian territory in Paris and through the very belonging to the category elite as a peculiarity of its residents.
The Maison du Brésil is one of the 40 residences that make part of the architectural set of Paris's Cité Internationale Universitaire. Some of these residencies (around 23) have a "national character" and are responsible for hosting graduate students and researchers during a temporary period. The CIUP was conceived in the 1920's, being meant by its main idealizer, André Honorat, as an international space for integration of the intellectual elites in formation in French soil. In this text I present some thoughts about the Maison du Brésil. My objective is to research this temporary residency for researchers through the meanings that characterize it as a Brazilian territory in Paris and through the very belonging to the category elite as a peculiarity of its residents. I wish to analyze the international circulation of students and researchers that live there and have an educational experience of multiple dimensions as experiences of deterritorialization of identities and its consequences in a housing space which is at the same time public and private. Based on documental analysis and ethnographic fieldwork I present some aspects of the history and the everyday life of the Maison du Brésil. Also I intend to show how the meanings of Brazilianness are used as support for the identity crisis lived by the members of a supposed Brazilian elite in Paris, as I analyze the particularities of the mediations established by the residents of the Maison du Brésil, in the formation and international insertion of some researchers.
On Looking and Learning: how children develop their skills in Orisha religion
The main goal of this paper is to reflect on how kids who follows the Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, develop the skills that are required by their position in the sacerdotal hierarchy of that religion.
The main goal of this paper is to reflect on how children who follows the Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, learn and develop the skills that are required by their positions in the sacerdotal hierarchy of that religion. Based on analysis of the relations that the children establish with others more skilled Candomblé practitioners and the environment they dwell in, I sought to understand what the children mean when they say that they learn by observing other people's actions. I claim that for them to look at someone is a synonym for taking part in an activity, it means to follow other (human and non-human) beings' paths and, therefore, cannot be defined as a simple passive attitude. I point out that the children's games which involve some religious aspect are fundamental to the development of a habitus. I conclude that the children learn through their daily engagement in the terreiros' dynamic and what they learn are embodied dispositions to act and not representations about the world. This kind of learning is grounded on a sense of familiarity which precedes the formal process of initiation in the religion. Moreover, I show how this learning - which is not exclusively religious - can also be present in the kids' everyday lives through episodes which involve healing and the reconfiguration of social relations. Finally, I intend to demonstrate how the religious engagement and its consequent objectivizing of the subject implies learning how to struggle against religious intolerance in the childhood.
Defining Cultural Competence and Consensus Among Croatian Youth: Education and Employment Domains
In this paper I examine how high school students with diverse preferences and ambitions construct values and believes about good and successful life in the contemporary transitional society in Croatia.
In this paper I examine how high school students with diverse preferences and ambitions construct values and believes about good and successful life in the contemporary transitional society in Croatia. The study is carried out on the sample of 473 high school students with different socio-demographic backgrounds from four diverse towns and cities. Two cultural domains reflecting educational and employment expectations are examined based on the following methodological tools: open interviews with key informants as well as the free-listing technique and self-administered questionnaires. The research is based on the cultural consensus theory developed by Romney, Weller and Batchelder (1986), whereas the ANTHROPAC software is used as the analytical tool for data analyses. By analyzing the patterns of agreement among high school students I show that despite universal and wide sharing of norms and ideas (believes) differences according to specific population characteristics as well as personal and individual priorities are maintained. I argue that in many individual cases cultural competence also includes the creative and unique patterns of conventional attitudes as well as the universal and the common to meet both personal goals and the overall success. Observed patterns of agreement (consensus) and disagreement (the lack of consensus) support the view that individuals strive for the balance between fitting their personal models of "good and successful life" to broad cultural norms and accommodating personal goals and needs to particular settings.
Towards an understanding of being a 'mature' male in Japan: an anthropological perspective into the 'problem' of hikikomori (youth social withdrawal)
This paper is aimed at critically examining 'internal cultural debates' about maturity and personhood, particularly of adult males, in contemporary Japan through an ethnographic study of medical and other approaches to hikikomori, or the emergent social problem of youth shut-ins in Japan.
In Japan, the 'problem' of 'immature' youth -particularly male youth- who isolate themselves from society and do not work or socialize with others emerged as a social issue in the late 1990s. Labelled hikikomori (referring to either the person or the condition), this has been understood to be a uniquely Japanese phenomenon, though recently global attention to the issue has risen within popular and medical discourse. The definition of hikikomori remains ambiguous, despite attempts to develop specific treatment or support programs including biomedical interventions, psychological counseling, and lay support systems. This paper draws on long-term ethnographic fieldwork at hikikomori support organizations, as well as interviews with psychiatrists, hikikomori tôjisha (those who call themselves hikikomori), families of hikikomori youth, and those who provide support to examine the following questions: How have recent social changes in Japan, including conceptions of gender, as well as the availability of the hikikomori category affected the experiences and identities of hikikomori youths and families of hikikomori? How do hikikomori tôjisha, families, psychiatrists and supporters make sense of the hikikomori category and the ways in which hikikomori should be dealt with? What are the factors that influence the choice of treatment/support by these actors? By making sense of how the category of hikikomori is understood by various actors and realised in practice, this paper highlights the 'internal cultural debates' about maturity and personhood, particularly of adult males, in contemporary Japanese society and its cross-cultural implications.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.