The Idealized Cultural Encounter

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Abstract

Studies into cultural encounters have predominantly taken point of departure in
‘problematic encounters’, in which researchers and participants see cultural difference as an
obstacle on the road to harmonious relationships (e.g. in ‘the clash of civilisations,’ or in
migration/integration studies). This paper proposes to study cultural encounters which are
organised around ideals of cultural difference as a positive social and political force. The
Danish People to People NGO Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS) is build around ideals of
equality, co-operation, mutuality and solidarity between people and cultures. A prominent
feature of the organisation is organised cultural encounters between Northern
(predominantly Danish) volunteers and Africans, which takes place at ‘training centres’ both
in Denmark and in African countries, such as Kenya or Tanzania. In this paper I will outline
the theoretical framework for an investigation into MS’ organisation of what I have termed
‘the idealized cultural encounter’, while also questioning the ways in which ‘culture’ is
envisioned in contexts where ‘encounter’ is seen as a positive and desirable force.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2014
EventCrossroads: 10th Conference in Cultural Studies - University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Duration: 1 Jul 20144 Jul 2014
Conference number: 10

Conference

ConferenceCrossroads
Number10
LocationUniversity of Tampere
CountryFinland
CityTampere
Period01/07/201404/07/2014

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