Dymplexity: new theories, new contexts and new labels for mobile students

Coleman, James A. (2013). Dymplexity: new theories, new contexts and new labels for mobile students. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 8(1) pp. 20–28.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17447143.2013.776057


In their article ‘A guide to interculturality for international and exchange students: an example of Hostipitality’, Fred Dervin and Heidi Layne discuss two locally-produced documents designed to help international and exchange students acclimatise to life in Finland. Drawing on Derrida, Bauman, Bakhtin and other theoretical approaches to cultures, to interculturality and to discourse analysis, they find that the documents seek to impose on visiting students the norms of an essentialised Finnishness. In this response, I adopt a simpler theoretical position to reflect on theoretical neologisms, and to challenge what is fundamentally a binary statement of the issue, and one which potentially misrepresents the documents by drawing on concepts which are no longer apt, and by ignoring some key factors of the context of their production and use. I suggest that dymplexity might be a more appropriate term than hostipidality for considering intercultural aspects of student mobility.

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