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Multiculturalism in Education: Politics of Recognition

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For more content, see Journal of Empirical Theology.

One of the aims of education is the integration of students in the culture or cultures of society. However, western society presents a complex, ambiguous picture that is full of paradoxes. Three aspects of western society, the process of modernization, the influence of religion and church in society, and the social integration of minority groups in society illustrate this ambiguity. The politics of recognition implies a right to the preservation of identity. On the basis of the principle of equality, students of minority groups deserve recognition both as individuals on the basis of their human dignity, and as members of a cultural group on the basis of the principle of non-discrimination. Recognition of cultures is based on the principle of distinctiveness, which implies the value of distinct cultural characteristics. The consequences of this politics of recognition for education are discussed. In the context of a discussion of liberalism and communitarianism, a communicative design is developed that avoids the Scylla of educational neglect and the Charybdis of indoctrination and manipulation. Finally, the politics of recognition in Christian education is discussed. Different models of religious education are described and evaluated on the basis of three criteria.

Affiliations: 1: Catholic University of Nijmegen


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