Beyond Cultural Differences: 'Intercultural' Co-operation in a German/Sri Lankan Development Project

  • Lisa Knoll (Autor/in)

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As development co-operation is most of the time 'intercultural' co-operation, behaviour is frequently explained by cultural arguments. I argue that regarding behaviour as being generated by cultural origin precludes integration in a conglomerate of structural dependencies and formal and informal relationships. It is argued that culture is first of all a powerful and persuasive discourse in development co-operation and that it provides orientation in complex working situations. 'Hide-and-seek' and 'discussing openly' - behavioural patterns considered to be either typically Sri Lankan (Eastern) or typically German (Western) - are presented in order to show that culture is a reciprocal process of identity creation rather than a feasible explanation of behaviour. The structural integrations of project collaborators show that behaviour in a ' hide-and-seek' manner more likely reflects dependencies in a counterpart set-up than to cultural origin.