Origins, concepts, and trends in intercultural education

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Intercultural education is an approach that responds to societal change arising from the contact, noncontact, and conflict among cultural groups. It envisions the prospects and challenges of living together in pluralistic societies. Globally, intercultural education has prominent origins in various European societies. Scholars and practitioners have also developed and practiced intercultural education in parts of North America and Latin America. As an epistemology, interculturality underpins intercultural education in recognizing and promoting equitable relations across cultural groups. At its forefront is the attention to equality issues in culturally diverse societies, which espouses the mutual accommodation of majority, minority, and Indigenous populations through dialogue and shared cultural expressions. Intercultural education seeks to prepare learners to live in diversity by supporting their understanding of inequalities, fostering respect, developing intercultural communicative skills, and resolving conflict. In practice, intercultural education involves developing skill sets and cultivating values related to intercultural competence, intercultural communication, intercultural dialogue, intercultural encounter, and intercultural sensitivity individually and collectively with the support of communities and institutions. While it continues to be promising in terms of supporting societies to engage with changes in cultural demographics and promoting interactions among different groups, intercultural education is not invulnerable to persistent and emerging societal problems, particularly those that have been legitimized politically, such as anti-immigration and nationalist movements that fuel racism and xenophobia. Intercultural education can at times be confined to the intellectual ambit of the diverse societies in Europe or the Global North. It is also prone to risks in its neo-assimilationist and technocratic tendencies, putting to question its explanatory value in addressing structural and evolving forms of racism. A need for intercultural education theorists, proponents, and practitioners would be to confront racial injustices that operate in novel ways. This need suggests the efforts to restore the humanity, respect, and social justice that sustain societies to thrive on the peaceful coexistence and cooperation among different cultures. Copyright © 2023 Oxford University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford research encyclopedias, education
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190264093
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Gube, J. (2023). Origins, concepts, and trends in intercultural education. In Oxford research encyclopedias, education. Oxford University Press.


  • Intercultural education
  • Intercultural skills
  • Europe
  • Racism
  • Theory
  • Concept


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