Cluster for Cultural Encounters

The Cluster for the Study of Cultural Encounters within the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies addresses historical as well as contemporary cultural consequences of human interaction as a result of forced or voluntary migration and travel, but also resulting from a general translocal interconnectedness through, for example, trade, war, colonization and information distribution.

Our research

While all of the processes named above have been present throughout human history, the cluster focuses on the more limited time frame of the era of modern colonialism and its consequences in contemporary times.

While cultures, as abstract entities, do not encounter one another in a literal sense, human beings, with different backgrounds in terms of beliefs, values, norms and practices, do so frequently, both directly or indirectly. Encounters are conditioned by differences in the cultural backgrounds of those involved and the subsequent outcome of such encounters may be diverse, ranging from total rejection of the culture of the "other" to its unconditional adoption, and the rejection of one's own cultural heritage. In between these extremes, there are various degrees and forms of cultural bricolage and hybridity, many of which can be directly related to existing power relations. While total rejection or adoption both are clearly reactive stances, the intermediate forms of responses may be less so.

Within the cluster we approach human encounters of conflict, competition and cooperation with a focus on cultural aspects in terms of both preconditions for and consequences of such encounters. The approach is both descriptive and analytical: We outline features of cultural stability and change in diverse contexts, but we also search for patterns in this respect, and propose ways in which these patterns may be explained, with recourse to different theoretical frameworks.