'Reading intercultural encounters as art' : the call of the other and the relevance of beauty

Frimberger, Katja (2023) 'Reading intercultural encounters as art' : the call of the other and the relevance of beauty. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 31 (2). pp. 283-304. ISSN 1468-1366 (https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2022.2164343)

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This article explores intercultural education research in/about intercultural encounters as aesthetic phenomena. I will argue that Gadamer's notion of hermeneutical identity when encountering an artwork can enrich intercultural education studies' (IES) conceptualisations of an event-based research and pedagogy, conceived as a mode of response to a personal address. Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas' ethics as first philosophy, IES's current ethical turn posits responsibility for the (radical) other (as a pre-ontological being-in-relation) – with the resulting fracturing of our self-directing ego - as the first reality of the self. IES's aim is to resist, and de-centre, the (potentially) subject-erasing act of (hermeneutic, agentic) signification in IES research and education. In this article, I argue that Gadamer's (aesthetic/philosophical) hermeneutics speaks in particular to the curious methodological/pedagogical paradox, which results from IES' turn to Levinas. Here, Gadamer provokes fruitful methodological questions as to the kind of 'research aesthetic' that could plausibly emerge from such event-based research and pedagogy – when it seeks to sustain ontological/epistemological openness and not give (fully) into the 'betrayal' of (scientific) language.