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Intercultural Crossings

Conflict, Memory and Identity

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Lénia Marques, Maria Sofia Pimentel Biscaia and Glória Bastos

Intercultural crossings, which are at the core of our contemporary society, are underpinned and shaped by three essential elements: time, space and people. Such encounters and interactions have the capacity not only to promote diversity and a healthy exchange of ideas, but also to act as a catalyst for conflict.
This volume examines the topics of conflict, memory and identity through a collection of insightful viewpoints and perspectives, reflecting a diversity of cultural and social backgrounds, which combine to give a contemporary interdisciplinary analysis of cultural interactions and their effects. The themes covered by the authors, such as memory and forgetfulness, migration, ecological concerns, mixed cultural landscapes, storytelling, postcolonial trauma and internal struggles for identity, offer the reader a fascinating glimpse into the ongoing and evolving social debate about identity and purpose.

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Introduction 9 - Lénia Marques, Maria Sofia Pimentel Biscaia and Glória Bastos

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9 Introduction Lénia MARQUES, Maria Sofia PIMENTEL BISCAIA and Glória BASTOS Sobrevivemos porque somos eternos errantes, caçadores de acasos, visitantes de lugares que ainda estavam por nascer. Mia Couto, “O Incendiador de Caminhos” In 2010 UNESCO celebrated the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures aiming at “promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity” and “intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding through creativity and the arts” (UNESCO, 2010: 2) at regional, national and international levels. The constructive interaction among different peoples emerging from distinct cultures is a core issue in the 21st century so that intercultural competence is in the esprit du temps. Intercultural relationships are built upon the dynamic flow between cultures and alterity. Therefore this motion cannot be regarded as the mere comparison of cultural traces among different groups or adoption of culturally diverse characteristics but as an actual understanding of the mutually shared objective phenomena. With globalisation and technological evolution, communication as well as cultural encounters and misencounters are increasingly ques- tioned. In a world where velocity commands communicational exchanges and where there is the danger of progressive acculturation and cultural homogenisation, international organisms are striving to reinforce the value of cultural diversity, namely by the recognition of the diversity of cultural expressions (UNESCO, 2001: 2005) and the protection measures of endangered languages and cultural heritage (UNESCO, 1972: 2003). It is in the framework of this globalised world that mobility assumes a progressively relevant role. When changing places, individuals engen- der new...

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