ICT and Interculture Opportunities Offered by the Web

ICT and Interculture Opportunities Offered by the Web

Laura Corazza (Università di Bologna, Italy)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch047
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Abstract

In Italy, as in other European countries such as Germany and France, the words “multicultural” and “intercultural” have distinct meanings1. In some ways the passage the one from the other indicates the evolution of a concept that, when examined in detail, forces us to re-examine educational political, and cultural choices in a society. “In Italy, especially in the field of pedagogy, the term multicultural indicates a situation where cultures co-exist side by side but as yet, have not found a means of comparison and relating to each other . . The term intercultural, which originated in France and then spread to other European countries, on another hand, describes a situation of interaction between different cultures, often describing a prospect, a possible point of arrival or an objective to strive for; a situation in which the people of different cultures begin to open up to reciprocal relationships, thereby bringing about the possibility of integration, characterised by a political and cultural pluralism which aims at reciprocal respect and appreciation between the respective cultures”2. With Multiculturalism, people accept to live with those from other cultures with tolerance but without promoting forms of exchange and democratic co-existence. The form of social organization that derives from this is that of the “melting pot” which encourages the development of ghettos or “Little Italy” and “China towns”. However the Intercultural approach is reciprocal. It is for those who accept and listen, those who are tolerant, those who are not afraid of “contamination” but constantly seek to mediate between different points of view and backgrounds.
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Focus

The concept of freedom of access to information is an integral part of the philosophy and history of the Internet. It is also guaranteed by the characteristics of computer mediated communication and tools such as e-mail, forums, mailing lists, blogs and portals. CMC has changed the concept of communication itself. Leaving behind the one-way logic of communicator- receiver (typical of traditional mass media) the situation has become one where individuals are nodes in a network, part of an interconnected environment. The individual has the active role of social participant in communication rather than being a passive consumer (as in the case of television).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intercultural Education: In Italy, as in other European countries such as Germany and France, the words multicultural and intercultural have distinct meanings. In Italy, especially in the field of pedagogy, the term multicultural indicates a situation where cultures co-exist side by side but as yet, have not found a means of comparison and relating to each other. The term intercultural, which originated in France and then spread to other European countries, on the other hand, describes a situation of interaction between different cultures, often describing a prospect, a possible point of arrival or an objective to strive for; a situation in which the people of different cultures begin to open up to reciprocal relationships, thereby bringing about the possibility of integration, characterised by a political and cultural pluralism which aims at reciprocal respect and appreciation between the respective cultures.

Information Society: It is now possible to influence the information circuit significantly. People can provide information as well as obtain it, they can teach as well as learn and participate not only as an individual but as part of a group. From the moment a person becomes aware of this new communicative reality and has the possibility of taking part in it, he or she possesses new rights and also responsibilities. The rights include the opportunity to access the web and its contents independently of limits (economic, time, and movement) and diversity (cultural, social, cognitive or physical). To this we can add the right to learning. This must take into consideration, not only the acquisition of technical and procedural knowledge but also cognitive, emotive and social competences which are needed in order to participate with full awareness in a form of communication which is also building knowledge.

Cyberculture: For Lévy, what is interesting about cyberculture is the coming together all differences and heterogeneity. He believes in the ability of cyberspace to bring out the best of human intelligence in every person through communicative relationships which create a collective intelligence and a cyberculture. In this sense we can assert that cyberculture is both a trans-culture and an interculture, since it is universal without being oppressively uniform.

Democratic Education: Morin has highlighted the problem of the inadequacy of knowledge (which is divided by the boundaries between disciplines while the reality of the world is increasingly global and interconnected) and the challenge of complexity. Complexity is a method and a form of knowledge which requires a dialogical approach. Gregory Bateson also spent his life demonstrating the interdependence between elements and the interconnections between different worlds and disciplines. So the new idea of knowledge, does not only refer to concepts that are to be transmitted but, above all, to the itineraries and the network of individual and collective experiences which are in a state of perpetual change. The process of building knowledge that can come about through the use of the network of ideas and information available on the internet produces social progress. This is what Dewey calls “social efficiency”: everything that makes an experience valid for the community, as well as oneself; everything that makes it communicable and useful in the demolition of social barriers. The same efficiency that he considers to be the final aim of education in a democratic society.

Democratic Information: The concept of freedom of access to information is an integral part of the philosophy and history of the internet. It is also guaranteed by the characteristics of computer mediated communication and tools such as e-mail, forums, mailing lists, blogs and portals. CMC has changed the concept of communication itself. Leaving behind the one-way logic of communicator-receiver (typical of traditional mass media) the situation has become one where individuals are nodes in a network, part of an interconnected environment. The individual has the active role of social participant in communication rather than being a passive consumer (as in the case of television).

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