International Education Journal

Educational Research Conference 2003 Special Issue


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Existentialism, Globalisation and the Cultural Other

Gavin Sanderson
Flinders University




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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


  Sanderson, G. (2004) Existentialism, Globalisation and the Cultural Other. International Education Journal, 4 (4), 1-20.

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