Is Reflexivity Necessarily Beneficial in Intercultural Education?
This article explores how the concept of reflexivity is used in intercultural education. Reflexivity is often presented as a key learning goal in acquiring intercultural competence (ICC). Yet, reflexivity can be defined in different ways, and take different forms across time and space, depending on the concepts of selfhood that prevail and how notions of difference are constructed. First, I discuss how the dominant usages of reflexivity in intercultural education reflect and reproduce a Cartesian view of the self that shapes how ICC is conceptualized and taught. I discuss three assumptions that this view produces: that the self is accessible and transcendable, that reflexivity is universal across space and time, and that the self can act as its own remedial change agent or ‘inner consultant.’ I argue that because reflexivity is understood in many different ways, attention to definition is crucial, both in designing learning objectives in intercultural education and in devising ways to attain them. Greater attention is also needed in intercultural education to the ways in which selfhood, and hence also reflexivity and constructions of difference, differ across space and time.
Intercultural Education, 2012, Vol 23, Issue 6, p. 1-15