Globalisation is not a
new phenomenon but the world has never before been subject to
global forces that are characterised by such extensity,
intensity, velocity and impact. Modern technology and
communications effectively compress human time and space
and we regard the world as a smaller place. One outcome of
this has been greater contact with the ‘Cultural Other’.
No longer can we think of ‘strangers and the strange’ as
dislocated entities that are peripheral to our own lives. For
this to be a positive experience for all parties, there are
some shortcomings to acknowledge and some hurdles to overcome.
Concisely, we have been inconsistent in our efforts to connect
with the Cultural Other. Furthermore, current neo-liberal
globalisation agendas would not seem to augur well for
improving on this record. This paper examines our contemporary
engagement with the Cultural Other from an existential
perspective and introduces the idea of the ‘fear of the
unknown’ as a foundation of our difficulty in accepting
Otherness. It also offers a way forward by means of the
internationalisation of the self.
Existentialism, Globalisation, Cultural Other,
‘Known Unknown’, Internationalisation