UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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EUMENESS-MOST Conference on
Stereotypes and Alterity:
European Mediterranean Perceptions of 'Otherness'

Valletta, Malta
27-29 November 1997

How individuals perceive others is often determined by cultural backgrounds, socio-political, ideological and religious frameworks. Such perceptions, one of the other, often come to be culturally embedded, laden with misleading content and images reaching beyond standardised mental pictures of individuals. Often they result in misunderstandings of ethnic, racial, religious and national groupings, causing social resentments. Such misunderstandings can generate misconceptions at four levels which percolate across national frontiers: Western perceptions of Arabic lifestyles; Arabic perceptions of Western lifestyles; Western reactions to Arabic perceptions of Western lifestyles; Arabic reactions to Western perceptions of Arabic lifestyles.

This conference aimed at an understanding of the dynamics causing social misconceptions of Arabic 'alterity' and seeked to set models for social transformations based on understanding differences without discrimination or prejudice. In collaboration with the Arab Sociological Association in Tunis and the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme of UNESCO, EUMENESS planned this conference to set up a structure for policy recommendations to promote early education teaching-tools in combating social prejudices between the North and South shores of the Mediterranean.

The proceedings of this conference inspired Volume 11, No.1 of the "Journal of Mediterranean Studies: History, Culture and Society in the Mediterranean World." which addressed problems of stereotypes and their effects in the context of the Mediterranean as a means to comprehend the wider problematic of "getting along" and coexistence in the region. It is published by the Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta.
For more information, please contact: Paul de Guchteneire, UNESCO/MOST, E-Mail: p.deguchteneire@unesco.org

Who is the Other? by Corinne Vella, The Sunday Times, December 7, 1997


For more information, please contact:

Anthony Spiteri, Ph.D.


Paul de Guchteneire
(Organiser of the conference)

European and Mediterranean Network MOST Clearing House
of the Social Sciences (EUMENESS) Division of Social Sciences,
Foundation for International Studies Research and Policy
Old University Building UNESCO
St Paul Street  
VALLETTA VLT 07, Malta  
Telephone: + 356 234 121/2  
Fax: + 356 230 551 Fax: +33 (0) 1 45 68 57 24
E-mail: aspiteri@arts.um.edu.mt E-mail: p.deguchteneire@unesco.org


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