The sensitivity towards strangeness- conception and operationalization

Por: M. Noethlichs.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Differences between natives and immigrants are often looked upon as crucial elements in conflicts. Almost everywhere we are strangers, and consequently in some way or another, different from the people around us. The main goal of educating in the realm of physical activities is to improve mutual understanding and achieve rational conflict management between natives and immigrants. Yet the structure of such conflicts might not only be restricted to ethnic groups, but also typical of conflicts between subcultures within any given society (Erdmann 1999).

As part of this larger intervention project termed "Intercultural Movement Education", sensitivity towards strangeness as an indicator, commands the development of a theory-based measuring instrument. The obligation to determine such a complex phenomenon led to specific procedures.

Though being looked upon as a social construction, strangeness is not a characteristic of social groups or individuals (cf. Gieß-Stüber 1999). To feel strange can be a result of noticing something as different to the individuals’ perception. Conceived distinctions in languages, outfits or behaviour for instance, will provoke patterns and reactions that might lead to devaluation. Consequently, the focus of attention will be drawn upon the term difference and the means people are dealing with it.

In order to operationalize the concepts, sensitivity will be characterised by the subjective perception of differences. By attributing a meaning, difference becomes of specific importance to the individual. Thus, sensitivity towards strangeness can be defined as the individual qualitative classification of a subjective perceived difference.



[1.] Erdmann, R. (Hrsg.) (1999). Interkulturelle Bewegungserziehung. Brennpunkte der Sportwissenschaft, Academia, Sankt Augustin.

[2.] Gieß-Stüber, P. (1999). Der Umgang mit Fremdheit - Interkulturelle Bewegungserzie­hung jenseits von Ausgrenzung oder Vereinnahmung. In: Erdmann, R. (Hrsg.), Interkulturelle Bewegungserziehung. St. Augustin: Academia, 42-60.





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