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International education in transition: Nordic perspectives

Pia Mikander, Harriet Zilliacus, Gunilla Holm
Education Inquiry , vol. 9
Year of Publication

Over the last several decades intercultural education has played a key role in many educational policies and practices, both across the Nordic countries and internationally. In this article we examine current conceptual discourses on intercultural education with an emphasis on developments in the Nordic research context. The analysis shows how the concept of intercultural education and its focus on “culture” has been criticised in the Nordic countries and internationally for the pitfalls of essentialism and relativism. This criticism is linked to a perceived lack of focus on power issues in education, which undermines the development of a social justiceorientated intercultural education. However, the analysis within the Nordic research context shows signs of re-conceptualisations, which includes a widening of the field and the emergence of new and more critically-orientated approaches.