Sean Golden was an invited keynote speaker at the IALIC 2016 annual conference - Bridging across languages and cultures in everyday lives. New roles for changing scenarios-- held in Barcelona on 25-27 November 2016.
Curricula and theoretical frameworks for political science courses in the Euroamerican context are dominated by a limited number of paradigms that tend to become “paradogmas” that reflect an unquestioned or unproblematised Eurocentric or Euroamerican bias. They lack intellectual and theoretical diversity. A geopolitical power shift has occurred, but the paradigms that dominate Euroamerican political theory have not shifted.
In the West Jürgen Habermas has attempted to counter both instrumental rationalism and postmodernism by calling for the construction of a communicative rationality or civic discourse that would allow all parties to agree on certain basic principles and procedures in order to promote mutual understanding and mutual acceptance of agreements.
As the geopolitical tectonic plates shift, alternative discourses emerge, based on non-Euroamerican principles and procedures. In the new discourse of a resurgent China, references to ancient Confucian texts rub shoulders with Maoist slogans and slang from the Internet. Old established slogans and keywords are being given new meanings. Unless we learn and understand these new meanings we could misinterpret what is being said, and be misinterpreted.
In order to better understand the innovations under way we need to develop a better understanding of the issues, the policies, the paradigms and the discourse that are being constructed. This requires better knowledge of the Chinese language and
culture and first-hand knowledge of the policies being carried out. It also requires more collaborative efforts to promote and build better mutual and common knowledge and understanding, perhaps along the lines of the EUNIC’s Europe-China Cultural Compass or the Dictionary of Untranslatables (Cassin, 2014).
Mutual respect requires mutual knowledge in order to construct a common and consensual multicultural civic discourse that could lead to meaningful cooperation.