As with gender and class, this chapter traces the connections between pluralism-or diversity-and conflict, isolating where education may be implicated. The range of pluralism-ethnicity, 'race', tribalism, religion-shares with class and gender an importance for identity, but has even more potential for politicisation of conflict. After looking at this potential, the chapter focuses on identity before a critical examination of multiculturalism and antiracism. Finally it explores the potential of citizenship education for enabling acknowledgement of hybrid identity and acting as an antidote to nationalistic education.
Given that pluralism characterises virtually all societies (whether of ethnicity, religion, clan or tribe), the question to ask is whether conflict is endemic. Definitions of pluralism can be positive, as in the Swann Report's notion of pluralism as the basis for a harmonious, multiracial society (quoted in Gillborn 1995). Gillborn notes however, as does indeed Swann, the gap between the 'pluralist ideal' and the realities of life in Britain, stating that
it is characteristic of most pluralist accounts that they rarely scrutinize the line between pluralism as a goal (as an ideological version of how things could/should be) and pluralism as a description of reality (as an analytical framework).
It is the latter perspective which I am taking here, in looking at the relationship of 'real' pluralism to conflict.
Both peace research and security studies have increasingly emphasised the large number of armed conflicts in which the division between opponents is to a significant degree defined by ethnic difference, or other types of difference in identity (Smith 2001). Huntingdon (1997) won a great deal of attention with his 'grandiose' thesis that future conflicts would be shaped by a clash between the world's great civilisations, but Smith argues that it is important to avoid making a fetish out of identity, interest or any other single dimension. His analysis of Huntingdon relates to the problem that on both sides-West
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Publication information: Book title: Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos. Contributors: Lynn Davies - Author. Publisher: RoutledgeFalmer. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 74.
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