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Keywords:

  • postcolonialism;
  • European Union;
  • intercultural dialogue;
  • pedagogy;
  • performativity;
  • multiculturalism

Abstract

The present essay focuses on problematizing the European Union's claim that intercultural dialogue constitutes an advocated method of talking through cultural boundaries—inside as well as outside the classroom—based on mutual empathy and non-domination. More precisely, the aim is to analyze who is being constructed as counterparts of the intercultural dialogue through the discourse produced by the EU in policies on education, culture and intercultural dialogue. Within the Union, Europeans are portrayed as having an a priori historical existence, while the ones excluded from this notion are evoked to demonstrate its difference in comparison to the European one. The results show that subjects not considered as Europeans serve as markers of the multicultural present of the space. Thus, intercultural dialogue seems to consolidate differences between European and Other—the ‘We’ and ‘Them’ in the dialogue—rather than, as in line with its purpose, bringing subjects together.