Title: Multicultural education: The problems of irreconcilable differences and change
Authors: Ramaekers, Stefan
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: transcript
Host Document: Bildende Widerstände - widerständige Bildung: Blickwechsel zwischen Pädagogik und Philosophie pages:79-97
Article number: 5
Abstract: The importance of something like multicultural or intercultural education is generally acknowledged. Given the challenges of a globalized world – e.g. the simple fact of people of different races and classes inhabiting the same spaces – the point is not so much that education should be involved here, but rather that those involved in education are confronted with the challenges and problems of working within a multicultural setting. What I wish to address in this chapter is the way in which otherness and the other, and hence also the self, are presented in current conceptions of multicultural education, and in some types of research on multicultural education. The characteristic language used here is the language of the importance of getting to know a variety of perspectives, of exposure to alternative discourses, of inclusion of a diversity of viewpoints, and also of enrichment of our own way of looking at the world. Sometimes the latter is implied to be the purpose of muticultural education: getting to know, etc. for the purpose of enriching one’s way of looking at the world, for the purpose of a better understanding of the world. I will give some examples in the first part of this chapter. My point is to raise two issues which are unsufficiently dealt with in the current discourse: the observation that differences can be irreconcilable and resist any integration in one’s own frame of reference, and the idea of change implied in conceptions of multicultural education. To address these issues, I will make use of some insights from Stanley Cavell regarding what it means to be initiated into socio-historical and cultural practices. The point here is to bring out a sense of a human being’s embeddedness in a form of life that at the same time cuts very deep (i.e. is affectively, even physically anchored) and is incomplete (i.e. there is an irreducible, though unidentifiable lack). Here the theme of voice (and what is involved in owning a voice) will be briefly developed, again by drawing on Cavell. In the final part of this chapter I will turn to multicultural education again and set to work (the metaphor of) voice in connection to it.
ISBN: 978-3-89942-859-9
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IHb
Appears in Collections:Education, Culture and Society

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