Edev_502 response wk9_5

The notion of segregation is challenging in terms of the wider discussion of possible future selves in the increasingly multi- and international context. Because both of you are talking about the UAE, it’s not clear to me if there’s a language issue underpinning these discussions. If there’s no language subtext, is there not a danger of socially reproducing negative, insular and nationalistic attitudes in students? I characterise this as a ‘danger’, but not all segregation is necessarily backwards. Who is to claim the international culture? Currently, through the hegemony of the English language and by extension English native speaker countries (or ‘inner circle’ [Kachru, 1996] if you will), the culture of the English-speaking West subverts local identities worldwide. The McDonaldisation (Altbach, 2004) of the world clearly has dangers for humanity’s richness and diversity. Protecting the local through social reproduction of the cultural values of the local has strong philosophical support.

Culture, though, is not a stable entity. Its malleability is evident just by thinking about the changes between now and one’s grandmother’s generation. Holding on to the past requires a narrative of the past, a narrative that can be so easily manipulated. Segregation is a situated narrative in a sense. The stories of future selves will be socially formed from the conversations, fashions, ideals of a narrower and culturally-bound set of classmates. Whether this is to the good or not, I’ll leave that assessment up to you.

Jim

Altbach, P. G. (2004). Globalisation and the university: Myths and realities in an unequal world. Tertiary Education and Management, 10(1), 3–25. http://doi.org/10.1080/13583883.2004.9967114

Kachru, B. B. (1996). World Englishes : Agony and Ecstasy. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 30(2), 135–155.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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