What is Interculturality

The word interculturality refers to the egalitarian relations of exchange and communication between cultural groups that different based on criteria such as ethnicity, religion, language or nationality, among others.

As a matter of principle, the term does not recognize the superiority of one culture over another, regardless of the majority-minority relationship.

Interculturality aims to build a more democratic society by visualizing, describing and equally valuing the modes of appropriation and re-elaboration of meanings between different groups.

It is referred to the processes of interrelation and communication of knowledge, codes, patterns and values ​​between different cultural groups, understanding that it exists equality between subjectsregardless of their position in the system.

UNESCO refers to this concept on its website as “the construction of equitable relationships between people, communities, countries and cultures.”

The relevance of this definition is justified in the framework of today’s globalized societies, which have historically dragged the weight of the colonizing perspective, in which the majority or dominant sector has tried to establish itself as a “superior cultural model”.

In this context, the words majority or minority do not refer to the number of individuals that make up a group, but to the way in which power is exercised. Thus, the “majority” will be the group that exercises cultural hegemony, and the “minority” will be the group that does not control power.

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It is evident that this term has as its purpose the vindication and understanding of cultural difference, in attention to variables of a historical, political, cultural, anthropological, environmental type, among others.

Principles of interculturality

Interculturality supposes the application of a series of principles, which make this a complex concept. Between them we have:

  • Recognition of citizenship.
  • Recognition of the right to exercise the original identity of peoples.
  • Rejection of the forms of imposition of the hegemonic culture and marginalization of the minority culture.
  • Understanding of cultures as dynamic phenomena.
  • Horizontal communication.

Stages of interculturality

Western culture has become aware relatively recently of the notion of interculturality. For this reason, reeducation is necessary. All education has a methodology. Interculturality must also continue, roughly, a series of stages to achieve the goal. These are:

  1. The mutual respect: implies knowing how to recognize each other as equals in the exchange scenario, recognizing otherness, exercising and allowing free expression and knowing how to listen to each other.
  2. The horizontal dialog: means generating relationships with equal opportunities, relativizing one’s own point of view.
  3. The mutual understanding: refers to the empathic disposition to understand others.
  4. The synergy: focuses on aiming for results where diversity becomes strength.

Interculturality in education

The term interculturality has been gaining space in the definition of public policies for the construction of more equitable social relations. In this sense, there are different initiatives in the field of education, a fundamental vehicle for the formation of values.

Intercultural education refers to two strategies that must be combined:

  1. Bilingual cultural education, where non-dominant sectors with their own languages ​​are allowed to be educated in their own language (indigenous communities in Latin America are a focus of interest).
  2. Cross-cutting redesign of public policies for education, involving review of content, educational plans, teacher training, school culture, community exchange and much more, from an intercultural approach.
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Interculturality, multiculturalism or pluriculturality?

The term interculturality can easily be confused with that of multiculturalism or pluriculturality. Although they are semantically related, they do not mean the same thing.

The terms multiculturalism either multiculturalism they refer to the situation in which different cultures coexist and even influence each other, but this can happen independently of mutual recognition or even independently of people relating to each other. Different cultural groups can coincide in a space-time, but without communication between them.

Instead, the term interculturality It refers to the interaction from an egalitarian approach between different cultures or sectors of a society, to the relationship. That is, it is a relational term.

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