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Are We Ready for Critical Multiculturalism? Paul Ilsley Faculty of Behavioural Sciences University of Helsinki 11.5.2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Are We Ready for Critical Multiculturalism? Paul Ilsley Faculty of Behavioural Sciences University of Helsinki 11.5.2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Are We Ready for Critical Multiculturalism? Paul Ilsley Faculty of Behavioural Sciences University of Helsinki

2 Reframing... Is Finland ready for multiculturalism? Is multiculturalism ready for Finland? Context and Definition are critical to our understandings.

3 “A human being is part of a whole, called by us ‘universe,’ limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-- a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us.” “Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

4 Let’s Address the Question It depends. What does it mean to be an educated person in Finland? What are the multicultural attributes? What are the challenges? Competing values – valuing competition Discourses of progressivism, goal achievement, practicality Nationalism embedded in EU sanctions One-way internationalism, traditions Environment of individualism, freedom, loneliness, and fear

5 Central Questions What does multiculturalism mean? What is culture? What does it mean to be a multicultural person? (What does it mean to be an educated person?) Who are the stakeholders? Whose values are served by the various definitions? What are the implicit and explicit ideals of multiculturalism?

6 The Approach Formal remarks, Group discussion, Invitation for social gathering after this colloquium, The future.

7 Chorus of Writers Critical pedagogy Frankfurt School -> Habermas -> Marx, Kant, Hegel, Weber… Social Theory – power : Gramsci, Freire, Apple, Giroux, McLaren, Foucault, Horton Critical Women’s Studies - Lahelma, Brunilla, Critical Race Theory, Asante, Jeffries, bell hooks Postcolonialism Challenges to the natural superiority of the west: Said, Spivak, Asante Postmodernism and Intersectionism Diaspora, otherness, diversity – relativity of truth - Phoenix, Quinn

8 Forms (Steps, Levels) of Multiculturalism An attitude, a set of skills, knowledge that an individual may possess? An egalitarian state of affairs of a collective-- a just organization, community, society? An ideal of egalitarianism and justice?

9 What are the opposite terms? Multiculturalism vs. what? Intolerance Apolitical localism Corporate democracy Nationalism Poverty and unemployment Injustice (e.g., racism, classism, sexism, religious bigotry, ethnic discrimination)

10 Stakeholders Analysis-- Whose Values are Served? Multiculturalism is a curricular device used in schools.... a threat to nationalists.... a marketing tool for increased profit of businesses of various sizes and types.... a political ping-pong greatly misused.... an ontology looking for a context.... a fetish of individual identity and expertise.

11 Multiculturalism is... (cont.) Knowing another language and being at home in more than one culture. Reconceptualization of civil society A pathway for giving privilege to groups that have been victimized. Post-colonial discourse. The conflation of decolonization.

12 Multiculturalism is... (continued)... a new paradigm for education in the 21st century.... cosmopolitan idealism and the belief that we all belong to the same moral community.... a system of beliefs that values complex human situations and human differences, and encourages and enables the voices of people from all socio- cultural strata, for the betterment of all.

13 Another View Friends Enemies Strangers The practice and discourse of inclusionary and participatory politics, in the strongest possible terms.

14 Individualistic Approaches Cultural Competence Intercultural Intelligence Culturally Aware International Curricula Multicultural Programming Are these approaches sufficient? Sufficient for What?

15 Multiculturalism in Education Equality in schools Equality in Society? Multicultural curricula: Teaching multiple contexts Understanding “we” vs. “they” issues Instilling a sense of commitment, idealism, awareness, multicontextual identity, peace

16 Issues in Multiculturalism Can the utopian values someday become dominant? Is is rooted in laws of conformity? Does it promote a sort of colonization of its own? Even with its utopian principles will it end up reproducing the very values it intended to transcend? Will it ever enjoy the sort of institutionalized cultural power its opposite enjoys today?

17 Expanding the Educator’s Role Understand concientization, praxis, and the social purposes of education. Create and live expanded social visions. Advocate quality of life issues. Expand social forums and tools for world-making. Transcend boundaries of different social worlds. Bring to the front what it means to be educated, in terms of justice, peace, equality and liberty.


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