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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Inter-Cultural Limbo: The Dilemma of Western Education in Traditional Societies: Egypt as a Case-Study
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/at-the-interface/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/dmansour_etal_wpaper.p​df
The sense of belonging is a subjective perception. In traditional societies that are
inherently conservative, cultural and religious the perception of the self becomes
bound to the holistic context of the society. From the moment you are born you
slowly submerge in a world where traditions, culture and the divinity of religion
make up almost every aspect of one?s daily life whether in public or in private.
Slowly the society becomes a collective of individuals who work to safeguard
traditions, culture and religious heritage. This holistic bond is, however, broken
when a culture of individualism enshrined in the ideals of freedom and rights is
instilled in the education and thus value system of those growing up in a traditional
society. Meanwhile, the widening cultural gap between East and West renders the
clash of civilizations more evident. Taking Egypt as a case-study, this paper
examines the situation of those lying at the fault-line of this clash. What makes the
situation of those lying at the fault-line of this clash more perplexing is the fact that
Western education in Egypt has furthermore created an even wider cultural gap
between those who receive such education and thus perceive themselves to be
more „Western? and the rest of the society. To the West, Western educated
Egyptians are, at the same time, never perceived as being part of this culture due to
the fact that they are always put in the stereotypical category of „Arabs?, „Middle
Eastern? or „Muslims? thus hindering their integration in Western societies. They
therefore usually find themselves in an inter-cultural limbo – neither belonging to
their perceived nor to their normative culture. This paper intends to examine the
correlation between education and identity and belongingness as applied in the
case of Egypt.

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