Critical Multiculturalism: Uncommon Voices in a Common Struggle

Critical Multiculturalism: Uncommon Voices in a Common Struggle

Critical Multiculturalism: Uncommon Voices in a Common Struggle

Critical Multiculturalism: Uncommon Voices in a Common Struggle

Synopsis

This collection explores the way in which critical theory and practice can unite into a common vision of democratic hope. While each author has his or her own specialty, the thread of shared dreams is portrayed in a call for solidarity. The separate viewpoints are drawn together to constitute a democratic platform for an enlightened critical education agenda. From narrative to critical ethnography, case studies explore the multicultural and power struggles of states, districts, and schools. Intimately connected to all contributions in this collection is the commitment of each author to similarly share a common pregnancy of intention within a "language of possibility."

Excerpt

Within the last decade, the debate over the meaning and purpose of education has occupied the center of political and social life in the United States. Dominated largely by an aggressive and ongoing attempt by various sectors of the Right, including "fundamentalists," nationalists, and political conservatives, the debate over educational policy has been organized around a set of values and practices that take as their paradigmatic model the laws and ideology of the market place and the imperatives of a newly emerging cultural traditionalism. in the first instance, schooling is being redefined through a corporate ideology which stresses the primacy of choice over community, competition over cooperation, and excellence over equity. At stake here is the imperative to organize public schooling around the related practices of competition, reprivatization, standardization, and individualism.

In the second instance, the New Right has waged a cultural war against schools as part of a wider attempt to contest the emergence of new public cultures and social movements that have begun to demand that schools take seriously the imperatives of living in a multiracial and multicultural democracy. the contours of this cultural offensive are evident in the call by the Right for standardized testing, the rejection of multiculturalism, and the development of curricula around what is euphemistically called a "common culture." in this perspective, the notion of a common culture serves as a referent to denounce any attempt by subordinate groups to challenge the narrow ideological and political parameters by which such a culture both defines and expresses itself. It is not too surprising that the theoretical and political distance between defining schools around a common culture and . . .

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