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A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Raising of Awareness through Virtual Experiencing (C-RAVE)

Research project Building on methods developed under RAVE, C-RAVE aims to explore how socio-linguistic stereotypes are constructed in a different cultural context, namely in the multi-ethnic and matriarchal African state Seychelles.

Stereotypes and prejudices are culturally bound. What is considered a "good or bad" characteristic in one culture not necessarily deemed the same in another. In order to understand our own patterns of behavior and view others with more open eyes cross cultural and intercultural perspectives can be enlightening. It is in this light C-RAVE is to be understood. The proposed five-year project builds on RAVE, funded by the Swedish Research Council, and the overall aim is to develop efficient methods to illustrate how sociolinguistic founded prejudices and stereotypes affect how we judge others.

Project overview

Project period

2015-01-01 2019-12-31

Funding

Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond, 2015-2019: SEK 4,489,000

Research subject

Language studies, Sociology

Project description

The current project builds on RAVE whose aim is to develop digital matched-guise methods that give students a deeper understanding of conceived identity-related phenomena in language. C-RAVE expands the original RAVE framework to include a cross-cultural dimension, which we believe will a) increase the validity of the project internationally, b) improve the framework of the project by exploring how it can be used in different cultural contexts, and c) enable us to demonstrate and raise awareness on how culture-specific factors affect (linguistic) stereotyping. The current proposal is budgeted at approximately 4.5 million SEK.

Under C-RAVE, we propose to carry out two case studies based on the original RAVE framework in collaboration with our partner university, University of Seychelles, and the Ministry of Education in the Seychelles. The Seychelles has been chosen as we have excellent contacts there – we are for example currently collaborating in a Linnaeus-Palme exchange project –, and further the ethnic and gender structures in the Seychelles are interesting and radically different from those in Sweden.

More specifically C-RAVE will examine two dimensions of linguistic stereotyping, gender and ethnicity. We aim to explore:
• how responses to the same material differ between two cultural contexts (Sweden and the Seychelles), and
• how methods can be developed for using the above findings as a starting point for raising awareness about how stereotyping is culturally bound and how it may differ from culture to culture.

C-RAVE will make the most of the theoretical and methodological work carried out under RAVE, and the two empirical C-RAVE case studies are scheduled to run one year after their counterparts in RAVE (years three and four of the project). The first two years of C-RAVE is a low intensity preparatory phase, during which prepare the ground for the empirical studies.

Apart from the methods described in the original RAVE project (workshops where binary student groupings will unknowingly be exposed to digitally manipulated variants of the same recording of language output, and where their evaluation this material is then used as the starting point for self/group-reflections), C-RAVE also includes an intercultural element. We aim to compare Swedish and Seychellois students’ responses to the same material and use differences in response and reactions to the findings to raise awareness on cultural differences in stereotyping. For this purpose we plan intercultural online and face-to-face workshops.

The dissemination of the project will include 3-4 publications of various stages in the process, international conference presentations as well as participation in an international workshop to be given in HUMlab, Umeå University in 2017, financed under RAVE.
The project will run over five years and includes all the actors in the original proposal.

Key words: Language stereotyping, matched-guise techniques, cross-cultural, Seychelles.