Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives

By James A. Banks | Go to book overview

What is needed is a new perspective about the duties of Indian citizens, a perspective which recognizes a pattern of uniformity in the political context but a system of plurality in the sociocultural context. To a certain extent this uniformity is enshrined in the Constitution through the notion of single citizenship, although, of course, requirements of provincial states partially limit the equal opportunity structure guaranteed to all citizens. The multiple cultural situations make the endorsement of cultural diversity in India inevitable. But this is not to suggest that cultural diversity should thrive at the cost of political integrity. In fact, these are two qualitatively different phenomena; to fit them both into a single hierarchy is a conceptual error.

It is the duty of every citizen to preserve and promote the political unity and integrity of India; this would inevitably bring in uniformity. At the same time, it is also every citizen's duty to nurture India's diverse culture. Given the multiple cultural streams of India, this implies plurality. Indeed, political federalism and cultural plurality can coexist without contradiction. The moment this is recognized, the content of citizenship education would assume the required clarity.


REFERENCES

Ambedkar, B. R. (1994). Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's writings and speeches (Vol. 13). Bombay, India: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra.

Bordia, A. (2001, September 24). Consensus be damned. Hindustan Times, p. 8.

Brubaker, R. (1996). Nationalism reframed: Nationhood and the national question in the new Europe. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Connor, W. (1994). Ethnonationalism: The quest for understanding. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Conover, P. J., Crewe, I., & Searing, D. (1990). Conceptions of citizenship among British and American publics: An exploratory analysis. Colchester, Essex: University of Essex, Department of Government.

Dahrendrof, R. (1994). The changing quality of citizenship. In B. Van Steenbergen (Ed.), Politics and culture (pp. 10–19). London: Sage.

Eriksen, T. H. (1993). Ethnicity and nationalism: Anthropological perspectives. London: Pluto Press.

Fenton, S. (1999). Ethnicity: Racism, class and culture. London: Macmillan.

Franck, T. M. (1992). The emerging right to democratic governance. American Journal of International Law, 86 (1), 46–91.

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