From Personal Threat to Cross-Cultural Learning: an Eidetic Investigation

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Brookdale Community College, USA
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Millersville University, USA

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Abstract

This study was an eidetic, phenomenological investigation of cross-cultural learning that involves overcoming an experience of personal threat. The study and its findings were placed within the context of Husserl’s genetic phenomenology and the extant humanistic literature on cross-cultural encounter. This appeared especially appropriate given phenomenology’s history “within the movement of the so-called ‘Third Force’ psychology” (Giorgi, 1970, p. xi). The eidetic reduction revealed the phenomenon to be rooted in an essential unfamiliarity with the other compounded by presumptions of the other as representing a substandard foreignness harboring danger. For the phenomenon to unfold required the learner to witness spontaneous emotional expression and empathically discover that the other struggles and suffers “like any other human being.” Openness to the other progressively builds and new meanings emerge from the interpersonal exchange as compartmentalized, intellectualized understandings of the other are outmoded.

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