Intercultural Dialog As A Strategy For A Sustainable Society: Case Studies From Italy

By Irina Suteu, Margherita Pillan and Anna Granata.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 17, 2014 $US5.00

In the last decades, Europe has been through important socio-economic changes and has seen an important influx of incoming immigrants and migrant workers. The paper focuses on the case of Italian society, aiming to underline the impact that foreign incoming communities have on the traditional Italian system. The approach of intercultural learning will be introduced, arguing that responsible services supported by communication strategies can strengthen social cohesion and enable the creation of a sustainable hybrid culture. The main question asked is how designers can contribute with their expertise in this process. The argument will be sustained by presenting the case of a service design academic experiment in which Master level students from an Italian University had to work with associations offering various services to foreigners for the purpose of developing services to support the intercultural dialog. The conclusion explains how traditional cultures have to open up to incoming changes in order to become sustainable. In this respect, the starting point in preventing cultural clashes is to educate the young generation how to negotiate the balance between local cultural heritage and foreign influences through intercultural dialogue.

Keywords: Service Design, Culture, Immigration, Italy

The International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 9, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.47-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 17, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 797.031KB)).

Dr. Irina Suteu

Research Fellow, INDACO Department, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Irina is a designer and researcher who lived and worked in several countries. She graduated from the Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, BFA, 2000, studied interaction design at Domus academy in Milan, Italy, and earned a PhD in design from Politecnico di Milano in 2011. In 2001 she established I&SD studio, a design and architecture practice, along with Stefan Davidovici. The studio participated and won several competitions for public and private partners. Her research focus is on the dynamic of multicultural and interdisciplinary workgroups, and interaction design. Her approach is to combine professional work with theoretical research. She is also the Italian correspondent for the Romanian architecture and design magazine Zeppelin.

Dr. Margherita Pillan

Associate Professor, INDACO Department, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Margherita Pillan, is executive vice dean and associate professor of Communication and Interaction Design at the Design School of Politecnico di Milano. Her research activities deal with practical and theoretical aspects of the design of services, interactive systems and solutions, including the study of emotional and cognitive processes, and individual and social aspects of communication. She devotes special interest to the design and study of digital and multimedia technologies, and the creation of interactive sensory experiences. She actively cooperates with the DESIS network, coordinating e-learning activities in the Public and Collaborative cluster.

Anna Granata

lecturer, research fellow, Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino, Italy

Anna Granata, is a psychologist and researcher in Education. She teaches Intercultural Education at the University of Turin. Her research activities deal with practical and theoretical aspects of cultural diversity, children of immigrants process of growth, cultural pluralism at school and educational paths. She devotes special interests to the teacher training on intercultural competences.