Friday, November 25, 2016

Culturally centering dialogue: When conversing across differences is the only way out





I have been struck by how often we call for dialogue only to silence difference.

The call to dialogue is usually from power. Dialogue, or the performance of it, thus is a strategic tool for the powerful in such instances.

As a strategic tool, dialogue is inherently un-dialogic.

It is un-dialogic because it is strategic.

Cultural centering of dialogue is a radical departure from this strategic notion of dialogue as a tool of the status quo.

To culturally center dialogue is to open to the idea of dialogue as difference.

Dialogue as difference is articulated "from" or "with" the margins, recognizing the human agency of those at the margins as participants in production of truth.

The recognition of margins as legitimate sources of producing truth claims inherently turns dialogue as a site of difference.

Rather than serving as an instrument of the status quo to reproduce truth claims as seen from the vantage point of those in power, culture-centered dialogue begins with conversations at the margins of social systems.

To dialogue in the spirit of the CCA then is to open up to conversations across differences.

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