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Nation-building, Human Rights, and Diversity in Civic Education Patricia Bromley September 2010 Conference on Educational Change in the Global Context.

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Presentation on theme: "Nation-building, Human Rights, and Diversity in Civic Education Patricia Bromley September 2010 Conference on Educational Change in the Global Context."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nation-building, Human Rights, and Diversity in Civic Education Patricia Bromley September 2010 Conference on Educational Change in the Global Context

2 Introduction & Research Question Rise of human rights and diversity in world society  Increasing emphases in education systems Tension with historical role of mass schooling as a tool for building national citizens How do countries do nation-building while also promoting human rights and diversity?

3 Background: Case of British Columbia, Canada 27.5% of population born outside Canada Indigenous groups have self-government rights found in few other countries in the world, also strong protection of cultural minorities One of only countries to have mechanism for secession written into its legal system Has official national multicultural policies Students in B.C. can graduate from high school without taking a course in Canadian History

4 Data & Method: Textbook Analysis Method: Content analysis of 80 textbooks for high school social studies & civics published from 1871-today Conceptually: textbooks are a country’s official narrative, their content reflects what state institutions and powerful social groups believe students should know

5 Findings: Overview Four strategies to simultaneously promote human rights/multiculturalism and a shared national identity: (1) framing human rights and multiculturalism as part of national identity; (2) using pedagogical approaches that promote multiple perspectives and individual agency; (3) celebrating social and scientific figures and accomplishments; and (4) drawing on exogenous sources to affirm state legitimacy.

6 (1) Nationalizing Human Rights Human Rights Rights that are so basic that they belong to all human beings are called human rights. In Canada, these rights are described and protected by two pieces of federal legislation, the Canadian Bill of Rights, 1960, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (Smith et al 1996, p. 271)

7 Versus International Human Rights Universal Declaration of Human Rights The United Nations also recognized human rights as a matter of international law. This was a revolutionary idea. For the first time, all the peoples of the world had a charter that declared that they ought to have basic civil, economic, social, and political rights, regardless of the political system they lived under. (Fielding and Evans 2001, p )

8 (1) Nationalizing Diversity I In 1971, an official policy of multiculturalism was introduced by Prime Minister Trudeau. The policy would...“support and encourage the various cultures and ethnic groups that give structure and vitality to our society. They will be encouraged to share their cultural expressions and values with other Canadians and so contribute to a richer life for us all.” –House of Commons (Cranny and Moles 2001, p )

9 (1) Nationalizing Diversity II Religious Freedom in a Multicultural Society In 2001, when he was 12, Gurbaj Singh Multani’s ceremonial dagger, his kirpan, fell out of its cloth holder in the schoolyard. The school board in Montréal banned Gurbaj from bringing his kirpan to school because it was considered a weapon. Gurbaj argued that it was not a weapon but a religious symbol, which he as an orthodox Sikh was required to wear at all times. After numerous court cases, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the ban on kirpans was a violation of Gurbaj’s religious freedom as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “Religious tolerance is a very important value of Canadian society,” wrote Justice Louise Charron.

10 (2) Pedagogy: Multiple Perspectives Like most people, you probably accept the history you read as fact – a true representation of what happened in the past. However, history is not just a series of facts; it is also a story. The version of history you read in this text might not be accepted by everyone who reads it… The drawback to a national story is that it may not be everyone’s story. This is especially true in a country like Canada, with its many groups of people and points of view. (Fielding and Evans 2001, p. 11)

11 (2) Pedagogy: Individual Agency Along with depiction of national narrative as resting in hands of regular people and diverse cultures is the idea that the national story itself is shaped by the actions of individual citizens.

12 (3) Social Heroes (Terry Fox)

13 (3) Social Heroes (Science) When asked what she felt were the best parts of her trip, Payette said the first was a chance to see the Earth from above. The second was to operate the Canadarm. This is something I’ve grown up with as a Canadian. It’s part of our heritage. This technology has performed so well since the beginning of the Space Shuttle program.

14 (4) Exogenous Legitimacy Canada’s accomplishments in the world serve as both a source of national pride and as a source of legitimacy. For example, one book states: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN in December John Humphrey, a professor of law at McGill University in Montreal, was one of the authors of the original draft of this document. The Declaration was the inspiration for Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which itself is now a model for other countries. (Fielding and Evans 2001, p. 274)

15 (4) Exogenous Legitimacy Canada and Canadians have international respect. Canadians believe that human rights are a basic requirement for all people, not just for those living in Canada. Despite its small population and limited resources Canadian troops and peacekeepers are sent to all parts of the world by such organizations as the United Nations to maintain and preserve peace in countries that are troubled by violence and bloodshed. Aid in the form of food, money, equipment, and other basic services are part of Canada’s contribution to people facing crisis and trouble. This continues to illustrate the image that Canadians are a generous and caring people. These efforts have earned Canada the admiration and respect of those living in other countries. (Bolotta 2000, p. xi)

16 Conclusions & Future Directions Traditional nation-building also still goes on (US, internal minorities, exclusion/absence), but extreme forms of ethno- cultural national identity are increasingly difficult to maintain This study suggests a package of related shifts likely occur together in educational discourse about national identity (e.g. emphases on human rights and diversity, active pedagogy focusing on multiple perspectives and individual agency, the rise new heroes, and an international orientation) In Canadian case is a clear shift in notions of national identity, expect would observe versions of changes to constructions of citizenship in other countries For comparative education a key implication is that in addition the construction of transnational educational institutions, the notion of the “national” itself is changing

17 Extra Slides

18 (1) Nationalizing Human Rights II The British Columbia Human Rights Code Most human rights complaints in British Columbia fall under the British Columbia Human Rights Code. The Code protects citizens against discrimination on the grounds of age (19 to 65), ancestry, colour, family or marital status, physical or mental disability, place of origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. (Cranny 2010, p. 335)

19 (3) Who are the heroes? Older texts emphasize military/political figures: Four Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross. One man, Private R. R. Thompson of the Royal Canadian Regiment, was decorated with the Queen’s Scarf, an honor so rare that only four men had ever received it.

20 (3) Who are the heroes? In contemporary books is recognized as problematic: Nothing exposed the differences between English Canada and French Canada more dramatically than reactions to the Boer War. In 1899, Britain became embroiled in a conflict with Africaner settlers in South Africa. Britain called for, and expected, Canadian troops to help them win the war…Quebec’s position, represented by Bourassa, was to stay clear of British imperial ambitions and wars. In contrast, English Canadians believed it was in Canada’s best interest to stand behind the British Empire.

21 (3) Social Heroes (Hockey) Whenever we Canadians ponder who we are as a people, one aspect of our identity that is always mentioned is hockey. This is not to suggest that other sports are unimportant, but ice hockey is “our” sport. It carries with it the dreams of many of the nation’s people. It creates heroes and legends. It transmits values and attitudes, and has become woven into the fabric of the land. (Smith et al 1996, p. 19)

22 (4) Exogenous Legitimacy: International Involvement

23 Discussion: Traditional Nation-State Building (External Others) The US is commonly depicted as an economic and cultural threat.  “Has it [Canada] become a colony of the United States instead of a colony of Britain?”  “Canadians see themselves as emphatically as distinctly not Americans.”  “Throughout our history our US neighbour has had a huge influence on Canadians. Will Canada be able to maintain a separate culture or will it be swamped by the powerful cultural influences coming from American television shows, movies, books, and magazines?”

24 Discussion: Traditional Nation-State Building (Internal Others) Research suggests that many White Canadians are uncomfortable when immigrants continue to speak their own language, wear their traditional dress, and practice their “un- Canadian” ways. Journalist Diane Francis greeted the RCMP dress code decision with these remarks: “To me, allowing a mounted policeman to wear a turban is equivalent to letting someone change the words of our anthem or fly our flag with a fleur de lis or stars and stripes in the corner.” (Fielding and Evans 2001, p )

25 Discussion: Traditional Nation-State Building (Assumption of Shared Culture) Observe assumption that Canadian society is based on shared values linked to Anglo or Protestant traditions. For example, a grade 8 textbook asks students, “According to the Protestant work ethic, which affects Canadian society even today, one gains virtue by working hard. Why would business people agree with this idea?” (Cranny 1998a, p. 285)

26 Discussion: Traditional Nation-State Building (Exclusion/Absence)


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