Becoming contemporaneous: Intercultural communication pedagogy beyond culture and without ethics

Gert Biesta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is a significant amount of literature in which the educational question concerning intercultural communication is seen in terms of providing students with the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and competencies that will enable them to become effective intercultural communicators. While this line of thought seems to have become the ‘common sense’ of much educational policy, there is also a growing body of research in which critical questions are raised about this approach. There are particular concerns about the totalising tendencies in such approaches, and ethics is often mobilised as a way to understand and enact the intercultural encounter differently. In this paper, I contribute to these discussions from an educational perspective. I contrast a pedagogy of empowerment with a pedagogy of disarmament, show how the idea of culture functions as an explanatory device, raise the question of time in intercultural encounters, and argue that an ethical ‘turn’ may run the risk of becoming another totalising gesture in intercultural communication. Through these explorations, I outline the contours of a pedagogy for intercultural communication beyond culture and without ethics in which the central challenge is that of trying to become ‘contemporaneous’. I pay particular attention to what this may require from the teacher.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-251
Number of pages15
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Early online date12 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • contemporaneity
  • culture
  • disarmament
  • empowerment
  • Intercultural communication
  • Levinas, coevalness
  • pedagogy
  • perspectivism
  • teaching
  • time


Dive into the research topics of 'Becoming contemporaneous: Intercultural communication pedagogy beyond culture and without ethics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this