Parochial, Orientalism and Stereotypes – are people really that narrow-minded?

In week three’s lecture and tutorial class we learnt and discussed about international students’ experiences within Australia.

Both in lecture and tutorial a key word that was brought up, and I thought it would be highly ideal to further discuss was ‘Parochial.’The definition for this keyword, (as most would know by now), is to be narrow-minded; to be – “Merely local, narrow or restricted in scope.” (2004, ‘Australian Oxford Dictionary’)

In our reading, Simon Marginson used this term by explaining that, as Australians we have been too narrow-minded or parochial in our attitudes towards international students. That we have not attempted to make an effort to communicate with students who are not Australian; is this true?

I am not going to totally ignore Margin son’s belief on this, but I would like to argue – bring to the table if you will, the idea that whether you’re an international student studying in Australia, or an Australian that studies internationally that the concept of parochial might be extended with stereo typing, our narrow minded perceptions on what we believe other countries are like.

Earlier this year I studied a topic in one of my subjects; this theory is called ‘Orientalism’. Edward W. Said has many theories on Orientalism, but the one that I believe strongly links up to being parochial is represented in the following quote:

“One aspect of the electronic, postmodern world is that there has been a reinforcement of the stereotypes by which the orient is viewed. Television, the films, and all the media’s resources have forced information into more and more standardized molds.” (Said, E 2001 p2011)

This then in turn can also link up to the television show mentioned in lecture, “Dumb, Drunk and Racist.” Are we really all these things, or have we just been stereotyped and people are parochial of Australians as well?

Overall my opinion is that its best not to be narrow-minded, but instead enrich our minds, have a deeper look at the beauty international friendships can be!

References: 

Australian Oxford Dictionary (2ed.)  2004, Oxford University Press, accessed 20/8/13, http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/view/10.1093/acref/9780195517965.001.0001/m-en_au-msdict-00001-0040202?rskey=5rhmWv&result=15 

Marginson S, 2012, Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience: ‘International education as self-formation’, Centre for the study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne. 

Said, E 2001, ‘From Orientalism’, in V Leitch (ed.), The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, W. W. Norton, New York, pp1991-2012

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