Программа первая международная студенческая Интернет-конференция «Разнообразие культур в полиэтничном регионе», 24 Марта 2009

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The Programme of Cultural Exchange as a Factor Contributing to the Support of Polyculturalism in the World.
Манцерова Ольга Владимировна

аспирант Астраханского государственного университета
Nowadays the interaction of the cultures is one of the most vital social and political requirements.

The polyculturalism of a person’s life activity area is an integral part of the modern industrial developed world.

Polyculturalism means the skills to conduct a dialogue, to understand the representatives of the other cultures, to perceive them the way they are, to support them in a tight situation. It is the enrichment of your own culture, as while cognizing the representatives of other cultures, we enrich ourselves as well.

The actualization of the problems, which deal with cultural pluralism, multicultural society, is generally caused by the reforms in economy and politics, being carried out within the globalization. The increased attention to these problems results in different and even contrary points of view about the role and the perspectives of polyculturalism. According to some authors, polyculturalism is a necessary condition, the basis of peaceful coexistence, the others are sure that the devotion to the ideas of multiculturalism can lead to the loss of uniqueness peculiar for each culture.

The developing globalization escalates the problems of multicultural society even more, provoking new conflict situation. The interaction of two cultures is more likely to result in a loss than in enrichment.

When young people come to any country, having its original culture, for example to Germany within the framework of Au Pair Programme, it turns out that habitual ways and rules of behavior are unacceptable or at least inefficient.

The normal reaction towards intercultural differences is minimization, which represents an advanced way of different culture perception. Its specific characteristics lie in the recognition of the fact that the values, standards and pattern of behavior typical for other cultures exist. The knowledge, received from the mass media, fiction and scientific literature within the framework of the formal education system, are often combined into the negative stereotypes of the other culture, become a part of the ideas of radical nationalism and racialism. This involves such responses as the negation of intercultural differences, they believe, that everybody all over the world has or should have the same belief system, credo, values and behavior rules. When we deny the existence of other cultures different from ours, it is like hiding into his shell, it would be expected that it will be more difficult for a person to withstand new facts, to avoid the meeting and close emotional communication with the representatives of other cultures. His position in this case is changed into purely defensive.

Sometimes it occurs that people, whose nationalities or beliefs differ, surely will like and understand each other, if they communicate directly and become acquainted in a closer way. If the level of intercultural competence of a person is low, what is typical for the defensive perception of cultures’ interaction, the negative stereotypes and aggressiveness just increase.

There are typical cases when the formation of a defensive response of most people to interculturalism is essentially unavoidable without the special intervention of the specialists – pedagogues, government agencies, social workers. It is caused first by the existence of physical diversities, different races and phenotypes; in the modern world we can hardly find a uniform society or protect any community from the conflicts with the “strangers”. And in the second place, the interaction between the groups of emigrants and native population take places. Not only individual capacities of perception, understanding and rejecting the other culture, but also state and social institutions, providing someone or other relations, play a great role in this case. In the third place, we should take into consideration the problems of adaptation.

It’s essential for everybody to find positive and even unique features of his culture. Thus, the interest to heritage and traditions of cultures grows. Then one can try to discover particular positive features of the other cultures and then specify common features of native culture and the others. The minimization of cultural differences can develop the skills of intercultural communication.

In stable situations or much less in the conditions of crisis or economic shock only some people have a positive attitude towards the intercultural differences, they can accept the existence of the other original culture and adjust to it. It requires the overcoming the obscurantism, “the ideology of closed society”. The adaptation and integration into a strange culture are based not so much on the knowledge of language and customs as individual interest in understanding of values and credo, emotional contact with its representatives. It is easier to achieve this through living in the conditions of strange culture, which differs from the native one, for a long time, having close friends there, taking an active part in social life, or through being brought up from the very childhood in multicultural conditions.

The following stage of the contact is characterized as “culture shock”. This is a period of the frustration of all hopes, a positive emotional position is replaced by depression, distemper and animosity. Shock is characteristic first of all for the affection, though such social factors as non-acceptance of new customs, behavior and communication, life tempo, the changes of social physical infrastructure (heavy traffic, social contrasts, noise, bright advertisements) and values (roles of efforts, rational behavior) play the most important role. We very often face the “symptoms” of culture shock: formation of realistic situation assessment, adequate comprehension of the events that take place and effective achievement of individual goals. The possibility of complete negation of new cultural phenomena and escape both in a figurative sense (withdrawal) and in the proper sense isn’t excluded. [1;30]

The duration of a communication contact is also important. A trip or a short business trip as a rule last less than a “honey moon” and make remarkable and pleasant impressions. Education and work abroad in the period of half-year or longer let know new culture better, make friends and even marry, i.e. enter the phase of adaptation. It also can turn out, that a person can’t adapt to changing social and cultural environment, and he will need an urgent psychological and social aid. Thus, the period of staying abroad during first 3 months is more difficult as regards overcoming of culture shock.

The stress caused by the cultural shock, break of relations with close people, colleagues, compatriots and, also the introduction into social relations in the new culture – all theses factors often become the reason of the fact that people, gone abroad for several months or years, make a decision to stay there forever.

It’s not necessarily that a high educational level and a social status (which implies development of communication skills) always help to easily overcome or even to avoid cultural shock in the environment of the foreign culture.

The enlightening courses for emigrants, social-psychological trainings of intercultural interaction, aimed at the development of intercultural dialogical skills represent the way out of cultural threats related to emigration.

The representatives of Au-Pair programme adhere to this approach. Before introduction of the girl into a family where she will do the housekeeping and look after children, the representation office holds adaptive courses for these girls. During the whole staying in Germany they also attend language courses. This type of work provides the positive results. Favourable responses of the participants demonstrated that. For example: “Thank you very much for German super-courses. I who has never set my eyes on a German word started to speak in four months, and my German was so good that I even scared the host family during the first contact on the phone. In the second place, only here I realized how essential the seminars were: How to open the door in the underground, how “to communicate” with Wascmaschine, which web-site to visit in order to check the prices for Jugendherberge in Berlin, … … … - it is difficult to imagine what “cultural shock” I would have had if I had not known a half of the answers to such questions, but thanks to Au-Pair Agency I knew the right answer to these questions”. Oksana Krivko. The given courses enable the girls to learn not only the language, but also the culture, history, traditions of the country, national cuisine… Unfortunately, such events devoted to the renewal of the dialogue between cultures are held very rarely.

Au-Pair is an international programme of cultural exchange, enabling young people to live in foreign families for a year, spending time with children, improving the language and getting acquainted with a country, Au-Pair programme was founded on 1969, almost all countries of the world take part there. First of all, Au-Pair allows to implement the following goals: to acquire excellent English, to enlarge the world view, to travel across the country of destination, study at a University, to learn the culture of the destination country. According to the enquiry of Au-Pair participants, this programme enables the realization of the emigration strategy. The majority of girls plan to get married, graduate from a University, to find a new job. Thus, this programme sustains the coexistence of various cultures in the country. Au-Pair Agency pays much attention to adaptation and integration of the girls into a foreign culture. It is not easy to get accustomed to new environment. Obviously, much time is required in order to become a part of the family and to gain confidence of its members. The girls spend most of their time in the host family. Often their expectations and expectations of a family do not coincide, for this reason Au-Pair Agency advises the girls to discuss all household questions what helps to avoid many conflicts.

Our modern world has the chance of the uniting of the people. Unfortunately we miss it, and now we are wide of the global uniting as the people of previous epochs. J. Freedman believes, that the boards in our globalizing world aren’t removed, they on the contrary are established everywhere, in every block of disappearing in our world united living space. [2;19]

It would seem, that the constantly developing stratification in our world on global and local levels, the failure of space and informative withdrawal of the folks in our “era of great migrations” should result in the finding of unity in the diversity, the removal of contrast “native” – “strange”.

Living in the multicultural region, there is a need to avoid the irreflective game of politics and think over that every representative of our society could make a substantial contribution to the successful development of the interrelations of the cultures.

The irresistible advantage of the society of a multicultural region is the possibility of knowledge and skills practice. The existence of different cultures gives the opportunity for continuous development in their specific features. It is more important to consider the polyculturalism as a strategical resource, which can and must be used everywhere: in economics, science and education.

Multiculturalism is the key to the development of the society and countries. The ability to work in the multicultural society enables a person to develop his knowledge and skills in different situations and under various circumstances. Not all of us realize the significance and value of the
multicultural society and its influence upon the development of the country, afraid to look at the real world and being artificially limited by conventionalities and stereotypes.
1.N.K.Ikonnikova “Mechanisms of Intercultural Vision”//magazine “Social Studies”, No. 11, 1995, p.26-34. 

2. N.А. Zavershinskaya “Performative Mechanism of the Formation of the Things’ Images in Modern Native and Strange Cultures”, – collected book “On Crossing of Cultures: the Russians in Baltic Region”, Edition 7: Part 2, Kaliningrad, 2004, p.15-30.

3.I.А. Ushanova “The Perspectives of Multiculturalism in the Conditions of Cultural Globalization”, – collected book “On Crossing of Cultures: the Russians in Baltic Region”, Edition 7: Part 2, Kaliningrad, 2004, p.64-73.

4. Beck U. Was ist Globalisierung? Frankfurt: Suhrkampf, 1997, S.12-17.

5. Programme Au-Pair//http://www.au-pair.com.ua

6. The Letters to the Agency of Au-pair//http://www.au-pair.com.ua/pisma.html
Historical view on the problem of immigration in Western Europe
Фисенко Дмитрий Сергеевич, студент

Астраханский государственный университет
Until the 20th century Western Europe didn’t attract so many immigrants, as USA and Canada. On the contrary, Europe it’s self supplied immigrants all over the world. However after Second World War situation has been changed. In second part of the last century Western Europe turned into great center of immigration, which rose huge social, economical, cultural, and political problems.

Later we will try to find out some reasons, which made this problem actual. But before it, let’s formulate what the immigration is. As glossary says, the immigration is a process of entering in one country people from another with the aim of living there for limited or unlimited period of time. Every year a great number of people from all over the world are changing their place of living with personal considerations. Some comes to their relatives, some arrives with a desire to find a remunerative job, some wanted to realize their right of sanctuary, but all of them brought to foreign countries some unique features of their domestic culture. This is a sufficient ground of appearing such phenomenon as multiculturalism - correlation of several cultures on the territory of a single state. As well as advantages multiculturalism has also disadvantages. According to the article of Nazimova L.R., leading scientist from Kazan State University here they are:

Advantages of multiculturalism:

  1. Preservation and supporting of cultural pluralism1.

  2. Recognition and protection of varied minorities2, which historical were in dependence condition.

  3. Giving chauvinism3, xenophobia4, race prejudices and stereotypes up, training of esteem, tolerance, and kind interrelations between different groups of society.

  4. It permits to discuss and investigate openly closed and illicit earlier themes and integrate forbidden into sphere of scientific discussion.

  5. Multiculturalism allows throwing a fresh glance at your country with its history and receiving more critical picture of it, also it permits to refuse from groundless faith in self-superiority.

  6. It attaches importance of interests, which were always ignored by liberal theory of equality and justice: interests of cultural recognition, ethnical identity, language and cultural membership.

Disadvantages of multiculturalism:

  1. A threat to national unity and civil harmony, opportunity of intensification intergroup5 and interrace6 distrust, complication the process of assimilation7.

  2. Multiculturalism leads to discrimination8.

  3. It has a strong reputation of being immoral, because it promotes the legalization of sexual minorities9.

  4. Criticizing a history of once country, multiculturalism can undermine its achievements and successes.

However multiculturalism can not exist without polytechnic background. Nowadays being ethnically widespread is a common feature of every country in the world, even if it is so tiny, like Vatican or Morocco. In history there were a great many bright examples of polytechnic migrations from one country to another, but the brightest and nearest one was happened with countries of Western Europe after the Second World War. The reasons of such a process are obvious.

Acute necessity of destroyed, with the world war, European economy made western region opened for labour force from outside, from countries with a high level of fertility and low demand on the labour-market, which led to a plenty of available looking for a job volunteers. Importation of manpower resources didn’t mean total lack of unemployment among the population in Western Europe. First of all, people didn’t want to do low-paid, dirty job. Secondly, the mobility of manpower resources was geographically undeveloped. In 1970 in France there were 262 thousand of registrated men out of occupation, even so it admitted 600-700 thousand foreign labours, to say more, FRG had 144 jobless people, but it didn’t prevent it to except 700 thousand labours from abroad.

Immigrants from problem countries were ready to buckle to any job. In Western Europe arrived those, who realized that even on low-paid positions they could earn considerably much money then in their motherland. Basically they were unqualified labours.

In first postwar years newcomers chiefly worked in the area of agriculture. Until 1954 migrant workers in France were mainly occupied in cultivating land and growing various plants. In FRG till1956 95% of foreigners were recruited as seasonal agricultural workers. However with the course of time foreigners penetrated into other spheres of economy. After agricultural area they spread into metallurgical industry and later into manufacturing one. In the beginning of 1973 immigrant-workers formed 10,8% of labour force in whole Germany. Primordially the chief provider of labours was Italy, for that misery and high unemployment were typical peculiarities. During 1946-1956 annually 150 thousand of Italians migrated basically in Switzerland and France. Germany was touched by “Italian wave” to a lesser degree: for having high level of unemployment (9% in 1951) and considerable number of immigrants from the East (8,5 millions), FRG in the beginning of 50th had no need in supplementary importation of a labour force.

At last at the beginning of 60th the Italian economy was modified and developed, that’s why outflow of labour force from this country decreased. France and Switzerland began to accept labours from Iberian Peninsula: annual entering of the Spaniards in France during the period of 1960-1964 increased from 90 to 170 thousands, the Portuguese – from 5 to 48 thousands.

From 60th immigrants from Yugoslavia and the Third World countries were widespread into Western Europe, instead of immigrants from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece.

Labour migrants were positioning at first point of view, as temporarily workers, who will return into their motherland after expiration of the contract term.

After the 1st energy crisis and unemployment, which was caused by it, the supreme authorities of Western countries decided to cancel the reception of immigrants. But it didn’t decrease the number of jobless people, they entered on the territory of European countries under of pretext of reunion their families, searching for a refuge or simply migrated illegally.

Foreign labours, who decided to build their life into new country, began to transport their relatives in it. As a result of relative’s reunion the number of immigrants increased. Foreigners merged their families. Usually visitors from the same countries were living rather compactly and newcomers joined their compatriots, because in that case they could be included into the system of their interrelations and mutual aid without any difficulties. This situation was very pleasant for appearing of ethnical communities or interrace ghettos, which basically reproduced behavior and culture of their origin country. Western European countries were faced with a problem of integrating immigrants into the life of a national society.

Every country has it’s own politics concerning immigrants, there are different ways and methods of controlling the number of foreigners and their activity on the territory of receiving country. A great many factors influenced on these methods, let’s take a look into the past, trying to answer, what made European countries so strict into the question of immigration!

During 2005 the world was shocked by the cruelty of heartless events in London and Paris. The first was shuddered by powerful explosions, in the time, when France was struggled with the wave of disorder, which could be compared with a mass act of disobedience. Behind both of these disasters there were staying people without native citizenship. This made the governments of both damaged countries bring a system of limitations for foreign immigrants – supposed culprits were depurated, in France was introduced martial law, as well as England officially turned all the Muslims out across a national border of United Kingdom.

Nowadays interrelations between West European countries and immigrants from everywhere are also strained. If you want to cross the boarder of country you’d like to visit, you should clearly base your arguments on facts and get ready to have problems with getting visa. Foreign counties have no profits to let your on it’s territory for a long time. If you want to assimilate yourself with a foreign culture and stay away from you point of origin firstly, you have to know the language of the country, where you going to live, then you ought to live there for a several years before getting citizenship – that’s a little bit hard, because of visa. You will be able to explain in an embassy that it is necessary for you to stay abroad one more day, month, year time after time, again and again. Controlling the number of immigrants is making the life of native people safety. The risk of terracts is getting low.

However, while we are frightened of a demonical shadow of violence and terrorism we will never feel the main advantage of multicultural philosophy – we will never open our hearts, thoughts, feelings for a bright impression of diversity, which supposed to be the most effective remedy for monotony of every single day.

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