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On the paradox of ‘organised’ encounter.

Wilson, Helen F. (2017) 'On the paradox of ‘organised’ encounter.', Journal of intercultural studies., 38 (6). pp. 606-620.


Encounters are politically and pedagogically charged. They have long been celebrated for their ability to chip away at prejudices, enact cultural destabilisations, shape subjectivities, and produce new knowledges. Yet encounters come with risk. The paper argues that encounters should be taken as very specific genres of contact and offers a conceptual interrogation of the notion of encounter, and its (dis)organisation, as a way of reflecting on the paradox of ‘organised encounter’. In particular, the paper suggests that the promise and hope of organised encounter stands in tension with the recognition that encounters are inherently unpredictable –that they are about rupture and surprise. Taking this tension forward, the paper asks what possibilities remain for forms of planned encounter in intercultural contexts and focuses on two concerns. First, a concern with what happens when something that is inherently unpredictable becomes a site of intervention and secondly, a concern with the risks of encounter, and for whom the risks are most acutely felt. It finishes by reflecting on what it might mean to keep hold of the unpredictability of encounter in organised settings and what it means for questions of difference, power, and privilege.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Intercultural Studies on 03 Nov 2017, available online:
Date accepted:12 September 2017
Date deposited:07 November 2017
Date of first online publication:03 November 2017
Date first made open access:03 May 2019

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