#5 The intercultural paradox

Since one half of the class is located in Groningen and the other half in Arlington, it is easy to think of the class as ‘’us’’ and ‘’them’’. In the beginning of the course this was something I certainly felt, but by getting to know the people in our team from Arlington that feeling faded away. This means that I went from the relativism to the communicative moral universalism. If I wouldn’t have been interested in their lives and culture, I would still respect other cultures but I simply wouldn’t know anything about ‘’them’’. For today’s society I believe it is essential to try your best and use the communicative moral universalism. Otherwise the us-them dynamics will stay and it will be harder to life amongst each other.  


Our team exists of people with a different culture or cultural background. When looking at the conceptual framework of van Asperen, it could be used during possible conflicts. The framework looks at different attitudes towards dealing with a conflict with multicultural people. The framework talks about monism, relativism and communicative moral universalism. Monism is about one’s own view of the world, relativism about understanding behaviour from the point of view that the world consists of cultures and equal value. Communicative moral universalism is based on encounters and human rights. When reading about the framework, the communicative moral universalism would be the best attitude towards solving a dispute between multicultural people. This means that if there would be a conflict in our group everybody should ask questions on each other instead of filling in what someone else thinks. Because someone could be thinking something completely different from what your thinking, maybe due to his or her cultural background. One extra obstacle for the global classroom, is that it is via skype. When talking via skype, I believe it could be more challenging to ask sensitive questions about one’s culture or thinking. By asking each other questions and by being open minded, a conflict can be solved or even prevented.

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