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Events > Intercultural Lectures

Intercultural Lectures at the first project meeting at Achill

: “Get to know your neighbours – national stereotypes throughout Europe” (Alexandra Haas)

What are the stereotypes that come to our mind when we think of our own culture (auto stereotypes)? What are the ones that foreigners confront us with (hetero-stereotypes)? Is there common ground between the two? And how can we test the so-called “second-degree stereotypes” – what we think others think about our culture?
Alexandra Haas
Alexandra’s seminar involved all participants in active exploration of what the main stereotypes are and how much truth we can find in them. For example, are Germans really those hard-working punctual pedants who value discipline more than a sense of humour?

Grid of different stereotypes
As the classification of the different groups was done by homogeneous national groups, the analysis showed clearly that different nationalities seem to attribute different qualities to the same nationality.
For example, the English may be perceived as a nation of tea-drinkers by the non-tea drinking Spanish people, whereas Lithuanians point out that the English drink their tea with milk (which Lithuanians don’t). This means that even if there is always a grain of absolute truth in the hetero- stereotypes they also clearly carry the stamp of the nationality that uses the stereotypes.

In this context it is interesting that stereotypes concentrate on differences which, seen from a distance, may appear very small; but in defining identity, differences seem more helpful than commonalities, of course.
Another positive feature was that people were moving around in the room – interacting with each other in a multicultural group and enjoying themselves! Buíochas do Alexandra and the participants! Very interesting, indeed!
by Laurence Borgmann