Pedagogy as Influencing Nursing Students' Essentialized Understanding of Culture
O'Sullivan, Patrick S
International journal of nursing education scholarship 2010; 7(1): Article30
In this qualitative study, we explored how students understood "culture." Participants defined culture and wrote narratives regarding specific cultural encounters. The sample comprised both nursing (n=14) and non-nursing (n=8) students to allow for comparison groups. Content analysis of the narratives revealed two broad paradigms of cultural understanding: essentialist and constructivist. Essentialist narratives comprised four themes: determinism (culture defied individual resistance); relativism (the possibility of making value judgments disappeared); Othering (culture was equated to exotica, and emphasized difference); and, reductionism (personhood was eclipsed by culture). In contrast, the constructivist narratives were characterized by influence (non-determinism), dynamism (culture was dynamic and evolutionary); and, relationship-building. The unintended negative consequences of essentialist notions of culture were revealed in the nursing students' narratives. Pedagogy is implicated in nursing students' essentialized understanding of culture.
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