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ERIC Number: ED530387
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 378
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-2928-9
Location Matters: Investigation of Responses to Intercultural Differences and Tensions as Represented in Fictional Short Stories and Films
Shim, Jenna Min
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York at Albany
In this dissertation I investigated how teachers interpreted intercultural differences and tensions embodied in fictional short stories and films. Participants in the study were 14 English teachers from China, South Korea, and the United States. My key research questions were: How are cultural differences understood and articulated by teachers from different cultural backgrounds? What are the external social, cultural, and political forces that seem to shape participants' reactions to beliefs and practices from different cultures? What might be the consequences of participants' reactions and interpretations to cultural differences with respect to forging more productive forms of multicultural curricula and policy in education? Three kinds of data were collected: (a) on-line discussions of short stories and films, (b) life history interviews, and (c) discourse-based interviews. Data were analyzed using the multiple strategies of situational analysis (Clarke, 2005). This study yielded several important findings. First, there was much more similarity across responses to the short stories and films within than across the three ethno-racial groups in the study. Second, problems of intercultural understanding were due less to a lack of "knowledge" about different cultural values or practices than to the "meanings" ascribed to these differences. Third, participants expressed discomfort, resistance, and even rage when their desires for wholeness, predictability, and stability were violated (e.g., Lacan 1977). Fourth, participants often adopted contradictory positions with respect to intercultural differences, suggesting that their positioning strategies were constituted in and through multiple, competing historical, social, and political structures and forces. Fifth, participants' ideas about productive forms of multicultural/intercultural education were clearly and firmly grounded in their own cultural locations. With classrooms, schools, and society becoming increasingly complex and contested intercultural contact zones, any possibility of progressive (or radical) transformation through multicultural and intercultural education programs will be severely diminished if we neglect how external social, cultural, and political structures and forces shape how we think and act in these zones. In this regard, my research contributed to (a) refining theories of intercultural relations, (b) exploring the lineaments of self reflexivity, and (c) problematizing liberal multiculturalism and imagining more critical, socially responsible forms of multicultural pedagogy. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; South Korea; United States