Divergent hallways: resident advisors' perspectives on the management of cross-cultural conflict




McDonough, Lindsay Alida

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This thesis explores the management of cross-cultural conflict by Resident Advisors (RA) at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. A total of twelve RAs were interviewed on the policies and expected practices of RAs, how these policies are implemented and whether these policies are effective in resolving cross-cultural conflict. This research analyzes and demonstrates that besides conflict itself, the discourse of conflict--how one speaks about conflict--and its representation are equally important. In many circumstances, the cultural discourse and its representation are not only a major part of the problem, but even a source of it. I argue that a narrow conceptualization of culture in the expected dispute resolution practices of RAs constrains the management of disputes between residents. Examples of disputes pertaining to nationality, racial and sexual discrimination, drugs, and alcohol illustrate the use of culture as a controlling factor in conflict, defining culture as bounded and discrete. This neglects the underlying structural issues at play, serving only to reproduce conflict and to ensure that social and economic inequities are passed on.



cross-cultural conflict, residence, resident advisor, dispute resolution