Learning about the 'Other'-Intercultural Learning and Refugees

Smala, Simone
October 2002
Social Alternatives;Spring2002, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p17
Academic Journal
This article offers an analysis of how educators can use essentialism for their own purposes, allowing a space for essentialism to become tangible, in order to rupture its stereotypes and reflexes and create a malleable space that in turn allows for multiple positioning of different groups. Media coverage of criminal incidents linked to offenders from a non-Anglo-Celtic background has allegedly led to a tangible hostility towards certain ethnic groups. In the case of the Sydney gang rapists it became quite outspoken and specifically targeted the Lebanese community. People became uneasy about their Lebanese neighbors or anybody with a vaguely Middle-Eastern appearance. Middle-Eastern rapidly grew into the new Asian on the scale of feared foreign appearances, and although the connotations of Middle-Eastern are rather blurry, 11 September 2001 and its terrorists burnt an image into the collective mind of Australia that will be linked to Middle-Eastern. While a visual image of an enemy was created, people who looked like the collective enemy started arriving on the shores of Australia, in the hope of escaping poverty, persecution and inhuman treatment. Many people in Australia felt threatened by world events and typically were driven into an essentialist position.


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