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Encounters with 'strangers' : towards dialogical ethics in English language education
journal contributionposted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by Alex Kostogriz, Brenton DoeckeBrenton Doecke
This article takes the inquiry into 'nativeness' and 'non-nativeness' to the level of developing an ethical framework for professional practice in English language education. In so doing, our aim is firstly to use the 'sociology of the stranger' as a framework to problematize discourses on the Other and Othering. We shall argue that these discourses are sedimented in the modernist project of perpetual purification in which "order making ... becomes indistinguishable from announcing ever new abnormalities, drawing ever new dividing lines, identifying and setting apart ever new strangers" (Bauman, 1997, p. 11). Our next step is to open up the possibility of transcending these discourses in education through a dialogical ethics of respecting the otherness in the Other. Pedagogy based on the ethics of dialogical recognition emphasizes the value of difference in learning through the 'surplus of vision' that the Other provides for constructing new meanings and new ways to mean (Bakhtin, 1981; Levinas, 1969). The recognition of 'the foreigner in the self' has significant pedagogical implications for language educators and marks the movement from ethics to politics.