Policy Futures in Education
ISSN 1478-2103

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Volume 3 Number 4 2005


CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]


Issues and Dilemmas of Multicultural Education: theories, policies and practices

Ana Canen & Michael A. Peters
. Editorial, pages 309‑313
Susan Searls Giroux. From the ‘Culture Wars’ to the Conservative Campaign for Campus Diversity: or, how inclusion became the new exclusion, pages 314‑326
Ana Canen. Multicultural Challenges in Educational Policies within a Non-Conservative Scenario: the case of the emerging reforms in higher education in Brazil, pages 327‑339
Anne Hickling-Hudson. ‘White’, ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Indigenous’: pre-service teachers reflect on discourses of ethnicity in Australian culture, pages 340‑358
Ho-chia Chueh. The Multiculturalism Caveat: a pedagogy of the politics of difference, pages 359‑377
Michael W. Apple. Audit Cultures, Commodification, and Class and Race Strategies in Education, pages 378‑399
Zeus Leonardo. Through the Multicultural Glass: Althusser, ideology and race relations in post-civil rights America, pages 400‑412
Cameron McCarthy. English Rustic in Black Skin: post-colonial education, cultural hybridity and racial identity in the new century, pages 413‑422
Jamie Kowalczyk & Thomas S. Popkewitz. Multiculturalism, Recognition and Abjection: (re)mapping Italian identity, pages 423‑435
Michael A. Peters. Education, Post-structuralism and the Politics of Difference, pages 436‑445

Peter Roberts. Pedagogy, Politics and Intellectual Life: Freire in the age of the market, pages 446‑458



Multiculturalism has a short history and is vulnerable as a concept and policy in the neoconservative state, after 9/11. It originated in the late 1960s, emerging with the encouragement of the New Left and after a decade of the civil rights movement that forced the recognition of cultural differences on the statute books. The word was first used, curiously, to describe Switzerland, and then was adopted by Canada in 1971 as the first country to develop multiculturalism as an official policy following the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism that responded to the grievances of the French-speaking minority. This policy affirmed the status of all Canadian citizens regardless of their ‘racial’ or ethnic origins and it confirmed the rights of aboriginal peoples and the status of Canada’s two official languages. The policy was soon adopted elsewhere, especially within the Commonwealth and by countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom. New Zealand developed its own bicultural policy in the last two decades of the twentieth century after the Maori renaissance of the 1970s revived the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi and began challenging the dominant monoculturalism of New Zealand society and its founding institutions. Multiculturalism, then, had its political home in civil rights, indigenous peoples’ movements, in the critique of colonialism and neo-colonialism, in citizenship rights, and in a robust notion of equality, all of which intersected and coalesced during the 1970s. This volatile political mix soon made its presence felt strongly in education and the education system was seen as the basis of establishing a kind of monocultural socialisation in the past and also as the means for addressing new citizenship questions of identity, cross-cultural understanding, ethnic harmony, social and ‘racial’ coherence, and the discouragement of ‘racial’ hatred, discrimination and violence. Increasingly, education was employed as the means for initiating the ‘naturalisation’ of new citizens and immigrants, as well as one of the vehicles for redressing past grievances among indigenous peoples. These immense demands often were translated into attempts to build a multicultural curriculum.

Up until the later 1960s, the liberal state followed a policy of ‘one language, one culture, one people’ and assumed that cultural homogeneity was a necessary condition for modernisation and development. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the relation between two cultures – a traditional one and a culture of modernity – came to be officially perceived as largely a problem of modernisation, of making the former more like the latter. This modernisation was not just a form of ‘assimilation’ or ‘integration’: the logic of modernisation was taken to supersede all forms of traditionalism. Tribalism, in particular, was perceived to be inimical to the interests of the liberal state because it promoted historic ‘we–they’ attitudes and thereby militated against the unity of an integrated state. Only recently in Western development and political theory has it even seemed a remote possibility that the enhancement of traditional ways of life might actually contribute to, rather than hinder, the ‘development’ or ‘progress’ of a people.

There is probably no more pressing a set of philosophical problems in educational theory than those that fall under the broad issue of cultural difference. The question of cultural difference in the era of modernity can be considered in abstract terms, in terms of the logic of alterity, of Otherness, but it cannot be thought of without examining the historical context of colonisation, its consequences for imperial, white-settler and indigenous cultures, and the historic struggles against the exercise of imperial power: the myriad forms of decolonisation, cultural reassertion and self-determination.

With the ascent of neo-liberalism in the 1980s multiculturalism suffered a series of setbacks. First, there was a revival of attacks from neo-liberals who criticised multiculturalism for allegedly impeding a ‘shared national identity’. Old liberal arguments concerning the ‘balkanisation’ of the liberal state were advanced alongside arguments by the likes of Diane Ravitch, Allan Bloom, Dinesh D’Sousa, Roger Kimball, Thomas Sowell and Charles Sykes in the USA that warned about the ways in which multiculturalism undermined universal values and led to cultural relativism. Second, in the domain of public policy, the market became the favoured means of the allocation of public goods and the basis for redistribution rather than direct state intervention. This ideological perspective eroded many of the political gains made during the 1970s and multiculturalism became a target for the Right that was seen as ripe for reversal. Yet the institutionalisation of multiculturalism in education and in law, as official policy, in so many aspects of the state practices, including hiring practices, official language, anti-discrimination, etc., meant that reversal was not easily accomplished even though the political climate was right.

If anything, the move to the neoconservative state has heralded a new era of multiculturalism where it is even more threatened and vulnerable despite this institutionalisation. Neoconservatives understand that crisis of the neo-liberal state to be one of governance and disorder after excesses of market individualism that in part requires the embrace of traditional conservative morality to address the cultural crisis of individual anarchy, sexual permissiveness, hedonism and cultural relativism. The integration of the Christian Right into American politics, which took place under Reagan and then accelerated under George Bush, has focused a new assault on diversity in the name of (monocultural WASP) values. Multiculturalism is seen as being responsible for tearing down the values of ‘civilisation’. After 9/11, multiculturalism is also seen as a mistaken policy, as a policy that has promoted the demolition of the state and created now insurmountable internal security risks. In Britain, the USA and France the emphasis has turned away from rights discourse in relation to immigrants in favour of greater security, more surveillance through the introduction of ‘community cards’, control and policing of borders, separate education of illegal immigrants – often involving a denial of cultural rights – and an erosion of those liberties that we take for granted. For instance, it has been revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency has secret jails around the globe and a recent amendment to a finance bill introduced by Lindsay Graham, a South Carolina Republican, has just been introduced that will reverse the Supreme Court decision and take away any legal rights of inmates at Guantanamo, thus destablising the rule of law and questioning the status of habeas corpus. Most often, local resident, immigrant and especially Muslim populations suffer these new indignities. The new policies have begun to impact on the independence and existence of ‘faith schools’ in the United Kingdom and religious practices in French schools (the government’s ban on Muslim girls’ veils in schools). Riots in France, perhaps the most extensive since the 1968 student protests, which have spread from Paris to Lyons, typically involve young French Muslims and Blacks living in suburban housing estates on the outskirts of Paris who suffer high unemployment and who have been excluded from the benefits of French society. These young people complain bitterly of racism and the way the French state requires immigrants to adopt French values and customs. This has given rise to comparisons with American multiculturalism that follows anti-discrimination laws based on statistical data (the French state does not keep such data), yet the treatment of poor Black people in New Orleans after the hurricane Katrina struck has indicated how the neoconservative state failed to protect and look after its people. Multiculturalism since 9/11 and under neoconservatism now faces fresh legal, ethical, political and economic setbacks. These risks are acerbated under globalisation.

In a globalised era, tensions have been pinpointed between movements towards homogeneity of policies and practices in education – particularly represented by models grounded in market-oriented approaches towards efficiency and accountability – and those that take cultural diversity, democracy and citizenship-building as the core of their approaches. The former implicitly adopts a position that individualises policy in terms of ‘consumers’, which, at least at the level of provision of public policy, increasingly obviates cultural difference even if the market itself is sensitive to the exploitation of difference in terms of consumer marketing strategy. The rationale for the latter is mainly based on two arguments: on the one hand, the need for identity representation of culturally diverse groups in different arenas of social, political and cultural life, including education; on the other hand, the need for all to provide an education firmly grounded on anti-discriminatory perspectives that highlight the multicultural nature of citizenship-building and the cultural meanings underpinning democracy.

While these arguments have gained support from all who put into question a culturally blind market-oriented approach to education, this dichotomous approach towards the question of multiculturalism is not enough. There is a strong need to gauge the theoretical grounding and adequacy of policies and practices that take into account a wider multicultural education project. While often well intentioned, educational policies committed to multiculturalism often backfire when they fail to take into account the tensions inherent within the theoretical perspectives and discourses informing multicultural issues. Such tensions touch on issues related to identity and difference, and the extent to which these are thought of as essentialised entities or as dynamic, contingent and always-provisory constructions within discursive space. Likewise, these policies touch on issues related to the hybridisation of identities, bringing in the interplay of markers of identity along the lines of race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, language, culture, and so on. They also confront issues related to the spectrum between what is called universalism and relativism, inasmuch as respect for cultural diversity invariably tends to challenge modern assumptions of universal values and the construction of national identities. These policies struggle to find appropriate answers concerning possible ways of taking on board the ‘global’ and the ‘local’ interfaces, as well as the plural discourses and voices that shape distinct cultural meanings within educational policies and practices.

These tensions do not exist in a unified field, but rather they interact and impinge on the ways multicultural education is theorised. Thus, clarifying the epistemological and ethical debates surrounding these tensions, as well as looking into the extent to which education and teacher education have been dealing with them, can help not only to map the field – in itself a worthy enterprise – but also to provide groundbreaking thinking of policies and practices attuned to citizenship-building within the multicultural project. In a time when disparate cultural values and outlooks have been at the centre of many misunderstandings and, indeed, signal value differences at the heart of world conflicts, it is worthwhile to examine the tensions in discourses geared towards educational thinking that purport to value cultural diversity and anti-discriminatory perspectives. Even though we are wary of grand narratives or attempts to project a universal dimension, we believe that a critical examination of the field of multiculturalism in terms of its theoretical approaches, as well as its political implications in education and teacher education, will contribute to the enhancement of the multicultural project in education.

To this end we invited a team of international contributors from among those at the cutting edge in the debates surrounding the topic. These contributors adopt different perspectives and their work highlights different aspects of the subject. The contributors come from different cultural and national backgrounds and follow different theoretical, political or practical approaches. The contributors, in particular, were asked to elucidate the implications of their arguments for educational policies and practices.

Susan Searls Giroux in her article ‘From the ‘Culture Wars’ to the Conservative Campaign for Campus Diversity: or, how inclusion became the new exclusion’ provides a critical historical account of the rise of multiculturalism in American universities, analysing its impacts and tensions, and pointing out the extent to which the present context of post-9/11 terror attacks has reconfigured old backlashes. She contends that neoconservative forces have been penetrating academic life and promoting the silence of multiculturalism, paradoxically under the very appropriation of the vision and language of multiculturalism itself.

In ‘Multicultural Challenges in Educational Policies within a Non-Conservative Scenario: the case of the emerging reforms in higher education in Brazil’, Ana Canen discusses the extent to which multiculturalism has had an impact in the emerging reforms in higher education in Brazil. Building on a post-colonial critical multicultural approach, she analyses the main axes around which the higher education reform is built. Canen examines the plural and contradictory discourses of the written media, including university media and the government voice, in relation to the meanings ascribed to inclusive and multicultural reform. She concludes by pointing to possible roads ahead towards a transformative higher education within a multicultural perspective that not only goes beyond dichotomies and incorporates hybridity as a part of its political outlook, but also attempts to take both cultural plurality and academic excellence on board.

In ‘‘White’, ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Indigenous’: pre-service teachers reflect on discourses of ethnicity in Australian culture’, Anne Hickling-Hudson analyses students’ writing in autobiographical or biographical mode, pinpointing contesting discourses of ethnicity in Australia. The author argues that in grappling with the negative legacies of neocolonialism and its ‘race’ ideologies, reflection on how students have been socialised to regard their place of indigenous culture in their society could be the first step in order for them to become teachers who can overcome prejudice and discrimination in the classroom, deemed crucial in an intercultural pedagogy.

Ho-chia Chueh, in an article entitled ‘The Multiculturalism Caveat’, explores the notion of a politics of difference and the essentialist assumptions of political subjectivities. She provides a close reading of major scholars in the field and specifically examines the post-structuralist critique of subject-based reason and its appraisal of the Hegelian metaphysics of negation as means of identity claims. From this discussion Chueh proceeds to work through ‘a pedagogy of the politics of difference’.

In his article ‘Audit Cultures, Commodification, and Class and Race Strategies in Education’, Michael Apple turns his attention to educational policies in the USA, focusing particularly on the federal reauthorisation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, commonly known as No Child Left Behind. Pointing to its turn towards testing and accountability, Apple takes that policy as a starting point to discuss issues related to current neo-liberal trends that have been informing an agenda of privatisation and marketisation in education. He highlights the ways that a punitive culture of external auditing, inspection and league tables underlies No Child Left Behind, even though it is disguised in a transformative and seemingly multicultural language. Apple points out the implications of race, class and cultural diversity of such a ‘reform’ agenda, and urges educational researchers to pay close attention to the complicated class and race dynamics. The article concludes with the hope that we provoke alternative ways to promote educational policies that go beyond the controlling, homogenising culture that has prevailed in neo-liberal educational agendas worldwide.

Zeus Leonardo in his article ‘Through the Multicultural Glass: Althusser, ideology and race relations in post-civil rights America’ develops his insights on race and multiculturalism by delving into Althusser’s analysis of the concept of ideology. Arguing that a thoroughgoing and critical theory of ideology is currently missing from multiculturalism, the author argues that Althusser’s theory of ideology is useful for the study of race (absent from Athusser’s original work). He contends that radical work on race within multiculturalism cannot forsake ideology. We must study not only its real manifestations, but also its imaginative, ideological dimensions. In that sense, by analysing the three main moments of Althusser’s notion of ideology, Leonardo claims the third synthesises the other two and, indeed, most directly provides a clear picture of how racial ideology functions on a daily basis.

In ‘English Rustic in Black Skin: post-colonial education, cultural hybridity and racial identity in the new century’, Cameron McCarthy rethinks the constructs of race, identity and cultural heritage, central to multiculturalism. He takes hybridity and the dynamism and heterogeneity of plural everyday human encounters. Through what McCarthy calls three ‘vignettes’, one of which is autobiographical, he develops his argument against understandings of multiculturalism that tend to mark out ‘indelible lines of separation between the culture, literature and traditions of the West and the culture and traditions of the Third World’. He shows the complexity of identity formation and stresses that curriculum reform must find links that connect plural groups across the particularities of their ethnic, geographical and cultural identities.

Jamie Kowalczyk & Thomas Popkewitz examine discourses of multiculturalism by historicising the notion of multiculturalism, examining Italy’s conversations about schooling. In their contribution entitled ‘Multiculturalism, Recognition and Abjection: (re)mapping Italian identity’, they argue that ‘Italian schools, along with other European Union member schools, are engaged in conversations around citizenship(s) (supranational, national and local variants), the question of national identity as a natural, uninterrupted homogeneity or an evolving heterogeneity, and the way in which immigration is evoked as the catalyst for these conversations’. Kowalczyk & Popkewitz first historicise and second consider the relationship of multiculturalism to the ‘memory work’ involved in narrating the nation. Third, they explore the local and the global in the Other. In this they provide a much-needed analysis of the European and specifically Italian dimension of multiculturalism.

In the final article, ‘Education, Post-structuralism and the Politics of Difference’, Michael Peters elaborates on the phrase ‘the politics of difference’ by reference to four main elements: a deepening of democracy through a political critique of Enlightenment values; an understanding of ‘governmentality’ as a form of political reason linking forms of governance and the self-regulating individual; an understanding of emergent forms of post-coloniality, an emphasis on philosophies of difference and the encounter with the Other; and an examination of ‘the multitude – the coming of world democracy’.

Finally, Peter Roberts contributes a review essay that explores recent publications and what he calls ‘Friere in the age of the market’.

Ana Canen
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Michael A. Peters
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


From the ‘Culture Wars’ to the Conservative Campaign for Campus Diversity: or, how inclusion became the new exclusion


This article explores the new conservative assault on the university and the relative silence on the part of progressives in response to this challenge. In part, this apparent retreat is a consequence of the vulnerabilities and anxieties of workers in the academy that result from the ongoing corporatization of the university as well as the pervasive culture of fear that permeates the USA in the wake of 9/11, which tends to punish critique as anti-American. As important as such factors are, the current analysis focuses more inwardly on processes of internalization and normalization of the tenets of professionalism and (neo)liberalism in the post-civil rights American academy. Upon careful reexamination of the ‘culture wars’ of the 1980s and 1990s, it locates part of an explanation for such confounding quiet in the ideals that marked the university’s ‘multicultural turn.’ The often limp endorsement and bland acceptance of principles such as ‘nondiscrimination,’ ‘diversity,’ and ‘openness’ in the abstract enabled the Right’s ruthless appropriation of the vision and language of civil rights, turning fact and history on their heads.


Multicultural Challenges in Educational Policies within a Non-Conservative Scenario: the case of the emerging reforms in higher education in Brazil


The article discusses the extent to which multiculturalism has had an impact in the emerging reforms in higher education in Brazil, against the backdrop of the rise of a new non-Conservative, Labour-oriented government whose political agenda is marked by a discursive stand against conservatism, neo-liberalism and neocolonialism. Building on a post-colonial critical multicultural approach and on the need to include ideology in discussions concerning educational reform, it argues that educational policies should work towards valuing cultural diversity and challenging discriminatory practices without falling into dichotomies that freeze subject and institutional identities and fail to consider their mobility, hybridization and contingency. It then proposes alternative perspectives to consider future policies in education that take multiculturalism on board in a transformational perspective.


‘White’, ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Indigenous’: pre-service teachers reflect on discourses of ethnicity in Australian culture


A cornerstone of the author’s pedagogy as a teacher educator is to help students analyse how their culture and socialisation influence their role as teachers. In this article she shares the reflections of her Australian students on their culture. As part of their coursework in an elective subject, Cultural Diversity and Education, students reflect on and address questions of how they have been socialised to regard Anglo-Australian, Indigenous and non-British migrant cultures in their society. Some recall that their early conditioning cultivated a deep fear of Aborigines, and a tokenistic understanding of ethnicity. Others talk of their confusion between the pulls of assimilation into mainstream ‘whiteness’ and of maintaining a minority identity. This, combined with an often Anglocentric education, has left them with a problematic foundation with regard to becoming teachers who can overcome prejudice and discrimination in the classroom and the curriculum. This article argues that in grappling with the negative legacies of neo-colonialism and its ‘race’ ideologies, teachers need as a first step to analyse discourses of ethnicity and how these discourses construct ‘white’, ‘ethnic’ and Indigenous Australians. This groundwork is necessary for the further steps of honouring the central role of Indigenous people in Australian culture, recognizing how interacting cultures restructure each other, contributing to initiatives for peace and reconciliation, and promoting the study of cultural diversity in the curriculum – all essential components of an intercultural pedagogy.


The Multiculturalism Caveat: a pedagogy of the politics of difference


Iris M. Young, Chantal Mouffe, and Ernesto Laclau are known for their political perspective on the politics of difference. The politics of difference concerns the fundamental question of political subjectivity. They argue against the essentialist belief that there is a fixed identity, instead promote the celebration of multiple and diverse values within society as reflecting the nature of difference. This article provides a genealogical examination of the discursive construction of these new attempts to define a philosophical basis for difference. The theories on difference and identity of Young, Laclau and Mouffe have been described and critiqued in this article. Such an examination will provide a better understanding of the notions of political agency presented in these new attempts. This may also lead us to a better understanding of the depth implicit in such notions as emancipation and empowerment notions these new theories have led us to.


Audit Cultures, Commodification, and Class and Race Strategies in Education


The author discusses some of the ways in which certain elements of conservative modernization have had an impact on education at multiple levels. He points to the growth of commodifying logics and the audit culture that accompanies them. In the process, he highlights a number of dangers currently being faced. However, he urges us not to assume that these conditions can be reduced to the automatic workings out of simple formulae. He argues that we need a much more nuanced and complex picture of class relations and class projects to understand what is happening – and a more sensitive and historically grounded analysis of the place of racial dynamics in the vision both of ‘a world out of control’ that needs to be policed and of ‘cultural pollution’ that threatens ‘real knowledge’ in the growth of markets and audit cultures. Thus, Michael Apple also urges his readers to listen carefully to the critiques coming from collective voices within oppressed communities and to not assume that one can read off their positions by reducing their agency to simply expressions of rightist ideological formula. Becoming more nuanced about such constitutive dynamics will not guarantee that we can interrupt the tendencies upon which he focuses here. But it is one essential step in understanding the genesis of what is at stake in a serious politics of interruption.


Through the Multicultural Glass: Althusser, ideology and race relations in post-civil rights America


In 1996, an edited volume devoted to Stuart Hall’s work published the essay ‘Gramsci’s Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity’. Central to Hall’s analysis was Gramsci’s deployment of the concept of hegemony. This article hopes to accomplish parallel insights on race and multiculturalism by going through the concept of ideology as theorized by Althusser. A thoroughgoing and critical theory of ideology is currently missing from multiculturalism. When ideology is invoked, it either goes through a Marxist refutation of the racial concept or it is posed as a problem that needs to be transcended rather than a constitutive part of the ideological struggle over race. Just as Hall reminds us that Gramsci’s theory of hegemony must be taken in the context of Gramsci’s Marxist problematic, this article notes that Althusser’s theory of ideology must be taken in the context of his commitment to historical materialism. However, in order to analyze the relevance of Althusser’s theory of ideology for the study of race and multiculturalism (something which did not appear in Althusser’s work), the author appropriates his insights sans his problematic of historical materialism. Althusser’s theory is useful for a study of race, which is as much a problem at the ideological as it is at the material level. Furthermore, Althusser’s discourse on ideology enriches debates about race and multiculturalism to the extent that his general insights on ideology are appropriate for such an analysis. In this explication, the author presents a brief introduction to the multiple levels of Althusser’s theory of ideology. Then, he appropriates Althusser’s general insights and relevance, determining the most pertinent moments in his theory for the study of race and multiculturalism. Last, the author poses the problem of color-blind discourses on race.


English Rustic in Black Skin: post-colonial education, cultural hybridity and racial identity in the new century


This article is written against the backdrop of deepening xenophobia and ethnic absolutism (forms of ‘racial cruelty’) that have come to dominate human relations between individuals and groups worldwide in the new millennium. Cameron McCarthy argues that these tendencies towards ethnic absolutism and ethnic essentialism have their counterparts in schooling, where debates over identity and the curriculum in the educational field have been clouded by ethnic particularism and dogmatism with enormous consequences for contemporary school youth and their teachers. As an alternative frame of reference, McCarthy attempts to theorize his autobiographical journey from his inauguration in post-colonial education in the British Caribbean and his ultimate displacement to the academy in the United States. McCarthy writes about race relationships in education from the viewpoint of radical instabilities that inform our understanding of identity and subjectivity. He uses the term ‘radical instability’ to underline the expiration of old forms of knowledge about race centered on unreflexive, quantitative, behavioral and fixed strands in social science and education. In doing so, he seeks to offer new understandings of race relationships, which are always contextualized and immersed in forms of experience that exceed the more orthodox academic canon and mainstream curriculum organization, experience and interpretation.


Multiculturalism, Recognition and Abjection: (re)mapping Italian identity


This article focuses Italy’s conversations about multiculturalism as dual processes of national homogeneity and abjection with respect to its growing conversation around citizenship, national identity and immigration. Abjection is a concept that directs attention to border-making through dual cultural practices of recognizing and managing difference through the processes that simultaneously produces ghettoes of difference within the imaginary of the nation. Italian schools, along with other EU member schools, have been designated as a central institution for the production of the new citizen, both European and Italian. Through an analysis of documents from the European Union and Italian Ministry of Education, one can begin to map the multiple multicultural citizenships that make up these relational new citizens. This work gives intelligibility to particular dispositions, particular practices, ways of being and systems of reasoning connected to the new multicultural citizen. In doing so, it also makes visible the non-European, non-Italian and non-multicultural within multicultural, European Italy.


Education, Post-structuralism and the Politics of Difference


This article examines the ‘politics of difference’, a phrase now almost synonymous with postmodernism and the critique of the Enlightenment. The article provides a post-structuralist take on this critique arguing that a critique of Enlightenment values can lead to a deepening of democracy and using Foucault’s notion of governmentality to elucidate the way political reason links the form of liberal government with the self-governing individual. It also examines emergent forms of post-coloniality with its emphasis on philosophies of difference and encounters with the Other and borrows the concept of the ‘multitude’ from Hardt and Negri, to talk about Derrida’s ‘coming of world demoracy’.


Pedagogy, Politics and Intellectual Life: Freire in the age of the market


Paulo Freire is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential educationists of the twentieth century. Eight years after his death, Freire’s work continues to generate considerable interest among scholars and activists across the globe. This review essay addresses some of the key questions and issues raised in a new book of previously unpublished letters and other writings by Freire: Pedagogy of Indignation (Paradigm, 2004). The review sets this book in the context of Freire’s biography, his politics and his educational philosophy. Particular attention is paid to a somewhat neglected theme in commentaries on Freire’s work: his stance on the roles and responsibilities of the critical intellectual. It is argued that Freire’s approach to intellectual life, for all of its shortcomings and flaws, remains relevant and important in a policy environment dominated by neo-liberal agendas.


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