Post #5

The us-them dynamic is found everywhere.  Within each country, each region, and each community there are people of different cultures who must interact.  On a global level, we see discrimination based on the us-them dynamic.  This is especially highlighted in the issue of immigration.  Many countries are hesitant to allow foreigners into the country because they are of a different nationality.  This mentality carries over into other aspects of society as well.  For example, during the Cold War there was an “iron curtain” dividing the east from the west.  The west being characterized by democratic governments, while the east was defined by communism.  Competition between these regions in the second half of the twentieth century nearly led to a nuclear war.  That being said, the us-them mentality is found within our communities, in instances such as the example given in the article of Jim, Paula, and Hussein, in which Jim and Paula could not figure out if they should ask Hussein out for a drink because of his religion.  Jim and Paula view Hussein as different because of his immigrant status.  In this instance, the local community imitates the global community in the us-them dynamic.  By observing these interactions, we can better understand global connections.

According to van Asperen, communicative moral universalism is “a continuous search for a balance between dependence and autonomy.”  In this ideology “nobody has the right to exclude another,” and “ diverse views of the world are possible.”  Furthermore, everyone is personally responsible for their actions.  In a globally networked classroom, we need to take personal responsibility for our actions and we also need to create discussions in order to accommodate our diversity and create a balance.  We can do this by clearly stating our expectations for our projects and keeping an open mind when it comes to completing our projects.    

2 Comments on “Post #5

  1. Carly – from what you’ve written, it seems you are a bit skeptical of van Asperen’s ideas, yes? Healthy skepticism is always good…. we love inquiring minds! How might you have handled the situation described by van Asperen? I suppose I would have felt rather clumsily asking — sometimes it is difficult to know what is meant by “cultural sensitivity”!

    Can you think of ways that this article might relate to your exploration of the community and taking photos? In your quest for globalization, did you identify others as “them”?

    When you say “In a globally networked classroom, we need to take personal responsibility for our actions and we also need to create discussions in order to accommodate our diversity and create a balance.” It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds! van Asperen suggests: ” Someone with a communicative moral universalistic predisposition …realises that coexistence is a matter of trying together, exploring together and building together.” That type of working relationship will pay off as you go to the next project!

    • Interesting questions! Van Asperen poses a tricky dilemma. I think it is always best to include everyone, and I believe that Jim and Paula should invite their friend out. This shows him that they are willing to include him. I think that it is important they show their inclusion, however they shouldn’t be pressuring him to break from his own cultural beliefs by drinking. In my opinion, globalization is about abolishing an us vs them way of thinking, and moving towards inclusivity.

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