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Title:The limits and possibilities of multicultural education
Author(s):Rodriguez, Alicia Pallerols
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Trent, William T.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:Through sociohistorical analysis, this dissertation examines the conceptual basis of multicultural education to determine its strengths, limitations, and viability. Multicultural education has been both criticized and embraced, but rarely has its conceptual foundations been analyzed closely. This study seeks to uncover some of the more problematic assumptions of multicultural education that question its coherence. Although there is not a consensus on the meaning of multicultural education, most approaches seek to promote equality, democracy, tolerance, respect, and cross-cultural competency. Multicultural education is fundamentally concerned with teaching the moral principle about the equal worth of all human beings. Using the rhetoric of race, class, and gender analysis, multicultural education has tended to represent individuals as members of static identity groups. Multicultural education has failed to deal with the complex relationships between cultural identities within individuals and across individuals. Contemporary theories of culture, cultural identity, and difference that illuminate the ambiguous, fluid, unstable, and political nature of identity constructs could provide multicultural educators with a language to better conceive of multiculturalism. In considering the difficulty in dealing with a fluid conception of cultural identity and the barriers to accepting and respecting all cultural differences, as illustrated by the failed attempt in New York City to promote a form of multicultural education that includes lesbian and gay identity, the best multicultural education can do is nurture a sensibility about and sensitivity toward the social world. Multicultural education cannot realistically dismantle structural inequalities, but it can encourage students to be empathic, curious, critical thinkers, and passionate about social justice.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Rodriguez, Alicia Pallerols
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712419
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712419

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