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ALLMEET – Actions of Lifelong Learning Addressing

Multicultural Education and Tolerance in Russia




                                      Intercultural Glossary










WP2 (KFU, UNL) – State of the Art


Glossary developed by the Portuguese group from UNL




Culture, defined as a web of meanings in which human beings are sustained (Geertz 1973, p. 5) or as the ensemble of customs, beliefs, art, including music and all other products of human intellect and physical as well as verbal behaviours, produced by groups at certain times; and diversity, the condition of not being the same or of the same kind, in the sense of being distinct; are the two concepts embraced in this expression. The expression is usually used in situations in which differences among cultures are recognised, understood and hopefully accepted, and mostly neglected when hegemonic forces prevail.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), in its Universal declaration on cultural diversity (adopted by 185 Member States in 2001), aims “both to preserve cultural diversity as a living, and thus renewable treasure that must not be perceived as an unchanging heritage but as a process guaranteeing the survival of humanity; and to prevent segregation and fundamentalism which, in the name of cultural differences, would sanctify those differences and so counter the message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (2002, p. 1). In this declaration, the designed key principles are identity, diversity, pluralism, human rights, creativity, intercultural dialogue and international cooperation.

Important debates within ’cultural diversity‘ regard the homogenising destructive action of globalisation throughout the world. One of the most quoted indicators of the loss of diversity due to globalisation regards linguistic diversity, “represented by all the dialects of all the languages in the world; and the potential for language to change in new ways” (Sayers, 2009, p. 5). The main pointed fact is that linguistic diversity is declining, in different societal conditions, over the last century. This is possibly linked to the increase in total population, in mobility dynamics, in the global sharing of information and through militaristic or cultural imperialist experiences. According to UNESCO (2002, p. 26), a priority in this regard should be “safeguarding the linguistic heritage of humanity and giving support to expression, creation and dissemination in the greatest possible number of languages”. Another important debate regards the potentially unethical promotion of diversity when it might maintain some cultural traits that disrespect human rights (for example, the practice of female genital mutilation).

Cultural diversity is seldom understood as multiculturalism, when referring to a society constituted by people from different ethnic origins. In this perspective, the idea of cultural relativism usually emerges. Considering that there are different cultures in the world, and with the internationally (UN) approved Human Rights Declaration in mind, all should be accepted and none should have supremacy over others.Authors like Giddens (2013) consider this vision as naïve, as it presupposes that different ethnic groups might follow the norms that they wish, ignoring the role of national identities and laws, and the constraints faced by ethnic minorities regarding majority cultural traits. The most evoked fears in this regard are the loss of social cohesion and of the ’typical way of life‘ of the majority (real or imagined) in a certain place.

There are three major models to manage diversity, or of ethnic integration: 1) assimilation, the process that requires the abandonment of habits and practices of the minority groups, who should adapt their behaviour to the values and norms of the majority; 2) melting pot, when there is a combination of the traditions brought by minority groups with the dominant traditions, forming new dynamic cultural patterns; and 3) cultural pluralism, when full legitimacy is attributed to the diverse ethnic cultures to coexist separately and, at the same time, participate in the economic and political life of the societies (Giddens, 2013).


Related concepts

Cultural boundaries; Cultural pluralism; Cultural relativism; Diversity; Ethnic minorities; Indigenous people; Managing diversity; Multiculturalism; National minorities.



Geertz, C. (1973). The Interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.

Giddens, A. (2013). Sociologia (9th edition). Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture, 2nd edition.

Sayers, D. (2009). Reversing Babel. Declining linguistic diversity and the flawed attempts to protect it. PhD thesis, Department of Sociology – University of Essex.

UNESCO. (2002).Universal declaration on cultural diversity, Cultural Diversity Series no. 1, presented in the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg. Accessed on May 2014, retrieved fromhttp://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001271/127162e.pdf.




Inclusive society relates to the society that is based on the principles of respect and tolerance to diversity. The expression, therefore, indicates those societies which are set upon inclusive principles.

The first step to understanding an inclusive society is to consider its opposite: the exclusionary policies and practices of that society. The reference to social exclusion is dominant in social policy discourse and is pointed as one of the main reasons for the lack of social cohesion in current societies. Which groups of people are excluded in a certain society? The answer to this question would provide the needed basis to develop a set of inclusive policies.

Levitas (cited by Ratcliffe, 2004) argues that from a policy perspective  there are three approaches to an inclusive society: 1) through RED, the Redistributionist Discourse as the need to redistribute resources because of material inequalities grounded in class, gender and ethnic differences; 2) through MUD, the Moral Underclass Discourse in a perspective that blames the disadvantaged people for their impoverished position and dependency on welfare systems; and 3) through SID, the Social Integrationist Discourse, an approach that places paid work at the centre of the integrationist project . However, Ratcliffe (idem) highlights that the review of policy discourse in Western societies has little bearing on sociological conceptions of inclusivity. Therefore, his proposal for an inclusive society is “one that has at its core: 1) a ‘One Nation’ culture as a common-sense of nationhood accompanied by a respect for, and acceptance of, difference and diversity; 2) a universal condemnation of racism and ‘racial’ discrimination (…); 3) a commitment to the creation of a society that recognizes the need for a greater overall degree of material equality (…) and 4) a qualified acceptance of the rights of individuals to opt out of the social and spatial integrationist embodied, for example, in the drive for sustainable (socially mixed) communities” (Ratcliffe, 2004, p. 166).

In the pedagogical field, an inclusive society is considered as a project being built, focusing the diverse spheres of difference-as-disadvantage and addressing projects to them. At first glimpse, an important sphere of inclusion is ethnic and cultural diversity. Another important sphere is focused on special needs education. Inclusion is considered as a developmental approach to education and as a human rights issue (UNESCO, 2003). Pedagogy has been developing an evolutionary action from integration to inclusion, considering that pedagogic action should produce more than the sum/ integrated parts of a diverse group. This lesson, generated from the special needs pedagogical field, can be interpreted as the principle of the inclusive society as a whole: a society which is not merely the sum of differently integrated parts, groups, and cultures, but a voluntary creation for an inclusive social environment.


Related concepts

Equality; Diversity in the society; Inclusion; Integration; Power.



Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture, 2nd edition.

Ratcliffe, P. (2004). “Race”, ethnicity and difference: Imagining the inclusive society. Berkshire and New York: Open University Press, McGraw Hill.

UNESCO (2003).Overcoming exclusion through inclusive approaches in education. A challenge and a vision. Conceptual Paper, Paris: Section for Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Basic Education Division (accessed in May 2014http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001347/134785e.pdf).




Intercultural education might be defined as the education that supports the diversity of cultures, their values and interactions, and languages, reinforcing solidarity among contexts with different levels of resources.

Back in 1983, when the Council of Europe gathered in Dublin, a much needed intercultural dimensioning of education had been indicated. The first known reference of integrating immigrant children into the education system of a host country was in 1970’s, and ’intercultural‘ matched the objectives of this emergent project. More than the contact among cultures,the focus of the multiculturalism view, the intercultural approach included a receptive and creative attitude for both host/majority and minority communities, in a coherent and structured action, demanding the participation of every element of a learning community, enabling the participants with a better knowledge on the confronted cultures and the needed resources to appropriate intercultural teaching methods (Rey, 1986).

Equality in diversity, justice towards inequalities, and the right to these difference are the core principals for intercultural education. Equality is the focus of every level, incorporating contributions from multiculturalism regarding the recognised value of non-dominant groups’ cultural identities, the importance of bilingualism/multilingualism and the respect for every culture, in order to overcome paralysing and discriminatory ethnocentrisms.

More than focusing on the challenges, the priority is to establish goals of self-valuing and accepting differences as a maturity factor, developing an historic conscience able to interpret the present from the past, cultivating the dialogue and the operative solidarity.As Galino (1990) proposes, intercultural education is an education for universality. In other words, a pedagogical model for the cultural enrichment of citizens is created, deriving from the recognition and respect for diversity, through exchange and dialogue, active and critical participation in a democratic society based on equality, tolerance and solidarity (Sales & Garcia, 1997).  Rey (1992) adds that the essential role of pedagogical institutions is not the unilateral adaptation of immigrants to the constraints of the host society, but rather interrogating (turning point for learning), listening to the other and educating for local and international solidarity.

In order to develop intercultural education, it is needed is to provide educators with intercultural competences. According to Bennett (2011), these consist of diverse cognitive, affective, and behavioural skills that support an assertive interaction in varied cultural contexts. It is necessary to promote the sensitivity to intercultural challenges, intercultural practices, curiosity, and cognitive flexibility and deepen knowledge on cultural shock, prejudice, racism, differences in values, and other emerging challenges within the intercultural projects.


Related concepts

Intercultural citizenship; Intercultural communication; Intercultural competences; Intercultural dialogue; Interculturalism; Intergroup relations; Multiculturalism; Pluralistic society; Transculturalism.



Galino, A. (1990). La educación intercultural. Origenes y enfoques. In A. Galino& A. Escribano.La educación intercultural en el enfoque y desarrollo del curriculum.Madrid: Narcea, pp. 7-22.

Bennett, J. M.  (2011). Developing intercultural competence for international education faculty and staff.  2011 AIEA CONFERENCE, February 20-23, 2011 San Francisco, CA, USA Association of International Education Administrators, retrieved from www.aieaworld.org.

Rey, M. (1992). La escuela y la migración en Europa: Complejidad y perspectivas. In M. Siguan (Coord.).La escuela y la migración en la Europa de los 90. Barcelona: ICE de la Universitat de Barcelona e Editorial Horsori, pp. 13-24.

Rey, M. (1986). Training teachers in intercultural education? The work of the Council for Co-operation (1977-83)Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Sales, A.& García, R. (1997). Programas de educación interculturalBilbao: Desclée De Brouwer.




Lifelong learning can be defined as learning opportunities throughout life: a flexible learning, diverse and available at different times and places. It might be considered from childhood to higher and adult education, in formal, non-formal and informal settings. The focus is to learn how to learn, and to keep on learning for the entire lifetime.

The perspective of lifelong learning is based on Delors’ (1996) four pillars of education for the future: 1) learning to know, mastering the learning tools rather than acquiring structured knowledge; 2) learning to do, enabling people to do the types of work needed now and in the future, including innovation and adaptation for future work environments; 3) learning to live together and with others, developing strategies of conflict management and solving, discovering other people and cultures, fostering community capability, individual competence and capacity, economic resilience and social inclusion; and 4) learning to be, contributing through education to a complete development, both of mind, body, intelligence, sensitivity, aesthetic appreciation, and spirituality.

In a globalised scenario, each citizen needs a wide range of key competences to flexibly adapt to changes within a highly interconnected world. Education, addressing both social and economic objectives, has a key role in this matter (European Parliament, 2006). A lifelong learning solid proposal might, at the same time, address personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability, fostering the capacity to adapt to new needs.

At the international level, an important sign of the increasing importance of lifelong learning has been the change in UNESCO’s former Institute for Education, now being called Institute for Lifelong Learning. This institute develops lifelong learning policies and strategies (dialogue, recognition, validation and accreditation, capacity-building and networking), proposals for basic literacy skills, adult learning and education, and regional priorities (focusing Africa).

In the 21st century, the need to endorse the principles of lifelong learning in education and in broader development policies is more urgent than ever. If systematically implemented, lifelong learning frameworks will contribute to more just and equitable societies.


Related concepts

Continuing education; Education; Globalisation.



Delors, J. (1996). Learning: The treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century.

Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning[Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006].

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning website, accessed on May 2014, retrieved fromhttp://uil.unesco.org/home/programme-areas/lifelong-learning-policies-and-strategies/news-target/lifelong-learning/9bf043146eaa0985e05daa9e12135f5b/.




Stereotypes might be considered the beliefs that support attitudes of prejudice (Brewer & Crano, 1994). The generalised beliefs on the characteristics and behaviours of a certain group are sometimes conceptualised from the created image of a typical member of that group, or the perceived traits considered more common within a certain social category.

A classic study on national stereotypes allowed to presume, for years, that stereotypes are attributes conferred by individuals to other individuals (Katz & Braly, 1933). Later, Allport (1954) and Tajfel (1982, 1983), analysing the cognitive aspects of the question, added that stereotypes and prejudices work as adaptive mechanisms. Stereotype is intimately connected to the psychological mechanism of change, when the feelings of hostility are projected towards others who are in a disadvantaged position. Most of the times, the victims of stereotypes are disadvantaged ethnic minority groups or any other group experiencing frustrations, uncertainty of life, economic insecurity, etc. In a process of categorisation, individuals include others in groups (based on physical traits, gender, age, etc.), grouping the gathered information, but on the other hand blurring the distinctions among groups. The perceived differences among individuals help to distinguish the members of the in-group and the members of the out-group (Tajfel, 1982, 1983). These schemes about the behaviour of a group can also produce stereotypes that confirm expected behaviour. Therefore, stereotypes influence the ways of thinking and behaving of those who are victims of stereotypisation, which end up by exhibiting them – as the example of the students who act according to the expectations of their teachers (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968).

Stereotypes represent categorisations at the social identity level, defining individuals according to intra- and inter-group relations. Instead of resulting from cognitive structures, stereotypes are the product of a dynamic process of social judgements and inferences that explain, describe, and justify inter-group relations (Turner, 1999). As other perceptions, stereotypes vary according to expectations, needs, values, and intentions of the observer.

Everybody has prejudices (pre-judgements), but the distinction between social categorical schemes from other schemes is the emotive content associated to individual perceptions of social groups. Prejudice consists of positive or negative (rarely neutral) affective reactions towards a group as a whole, the perceptions people have of other individuals and groups, and the attitudes and behaviours towards them (Sears et al., 1988). Nonetheless, the term tends to be used when referring to negative assessment of different groups from those to which the person belongs to. This negative feeling is directed to every member of a specific social category, affecting mainly minority groups.

Giddens (1993) considers that prejudice includes keeping pre-conceived ideas about an individual or a group, based on rumours rather than on direct evidence, and these ideas are resistant to change, even when new information is presented. Prejudice operates, mainly, through a stereotyped thought, which can seem inoffensive when it is neutral in terms of emotional content and when it is distant from the interest of individuals.

The conscience of possessing certain common characteristics which are socially relevant, differentiating the group from other social entities (Tajfel, 1983) makes a minority group ‘other’ as a social entity. This conscience only develops when certain social consequences are perceived, connected to that belonging, including discriminatory and other negative attitudes from other people. What gathers as similar all those included into the ‘minority’ category are the designations that refer to them related to negative stereotypes, broadly diffused. Thus, this conscience of belonging to a minority group hampers the social mobility of individuals.

Related concepts




Allport, G.W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

Brewer, M. B. & Crano, W. D. (1994). Social psychology. Minneapolis: West Publishing Company.

Giddens, A. (1993). Sociology (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Katz, D. & Braly, K. (1933). Social stereotypes of one hundred college students. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28, 280-290.

Rosenthal, R.& Jacobson, L. F. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom: Teacher expectation and pupils’ intellectual development. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Sears, D. O., Peplan, L. A., Freedman, J. L.,& Taylor, S. E. (1988). Prejudice. In Social Psychology (6th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 411-441.

Tajfel, H. (1982). Grupos humanos e categorias sociais – I. Lisbon: Livros Horizonte.

Tajfel, H. (1983). Grupos humanos e categorias sociais – II. Lisbon: Livros Horizonte.

Turner, J. C. (1999). Some current issues in research on social identity and self-categorization theories. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears,& B. Doosje (Eds.).Social identity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, pp. 6-34.