Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives

Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives

Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives

Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives

Synopsis

"Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives is a brilliant achievement. It addresses with breathtaking sophistication and depth one of the most fundamental problems of our times: what is the role of citizenship education in the millennium of globalization and diversity? Professor Banks has gathered an impressive group of scholars, among the very best in the world, in a volume destined to become the standard reference in the field. It should be required reading for scholars of education, globalization, multiculturalism, and citizenship." _ Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education, Harvard University and codirector of the Harvard Immigration Projects"This book makes a brilliant and comprehensive contribution to understanding education for citizenship in a global context. It offers the best analysis yet of the contradictions between diversity and equality, and the need for democratic citizenship education in a global context. It should be read by all educators around the world who are concerned about creating just and inclusive multicultural societie s."_ Sally Tomlinson, emeritus professor of education, Goldsmiths College, University of London, and research associate, Education Department, University of Oxford, England"Kudos to James A. Banks for undertaking this exciting project and doing a superb editorial job. This set of coherent chapters by leading scholars from twelve nations is essential reading for anyone concerned with the role that multicultural/international education can play in contributing to democratic and globally conscious citizens in increasingly diverse societies in an interconnected world."_ Robert F. Arnove, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, and past president, Comparative and International Education Society"This book should be read by everyone working in multicultural, comparative, global, and social studies or civic education. It brings together cutting edge scholarship on the intersection of multicultural and citizenship education with rich descriptions of the varied meanings and experiences in differing national contexts. It is a fascinating read!"_ Carole L. Hahn, professor of education, Emory University"Rather than simply a problem of appreciating differences in race, ethnicity, and language, preparing citizens for democracy in the twenty-first century is a complex project that must be firmly rooted in social justice and sociopolitical realities. The international authors of Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives tackle knotty problems but leave readers with hope in facing the many challenges that lie ahead if we are serious about promoting justice and equity through education. This terrific and informative book is sure to be a great help to educators."_ Sonia Nieto, School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Excerpt

The chapters in this volume testify to a striking worldwide trend regarding the diffusion and adoption of the principles and policies of multicultural citizenship. This trend has been intensively studied within the Western democracies but has now reached even the most remote regions of Peru (Brysk, 2000), the highlands of Nepal (Gellner, 2001), and the peripheries of Communist China (see Wan, Chapter 13).

This trend is quite remarkable given the many obstacles faced by proponents of multiculturalism. These range from deeply rooted legacies of ethnocentrism and racism that denigrate the value of minority cultures to modernizing ideologies of nation building that privilege uniformity and homogeneity over diversity. The chapters in this volume provide eloquent, and at times inspiring, testimony to the struggles that have been required to overcome these obstacles (see, e.g., Gonçalves e Silva, Chapter 7). They also remind us of the ever-present possibility of a backlash and relapse into more homogenizing or assimilationist models of citizenship (see, e.g., Castles' discussion of Australia, Chapter 1).

However, the successful diffusion of multiculturalist ideals has generated its own dilemmas and challenges. Multiculturalism is not a simple or straightforward idea: it carries within itself various tensions and conflicts. Even in contexts where there is broad public support for the idea of multiculturalism, there are likely to be deep disagreements about how to interpret or implement it.

One central tension, highlighted in the introduction by Banks and picked up in most of the chapters, is the need to “balance unity and diversity” (Banks et al., 2001). How can we ensure that the recognition of diversity does not undermine efforts to construct or sustain common political values, mutual trust and understanding, and solidarity across group lines?

Critics of multiculturalism typically view this problem as insoluble. They assume that identities are essentially zero-sum, so that policies which . . .

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