Taking Identity Seriously: dilemmas for education policy and practice

Jan. 20, 2008

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 7 Number 1,  2008, pages 39-49.

If we are to fully understand and adequately respond to the multicultural question in European education, it is necessary to develop rich empirical descriptions and theoretically rigorous explanations of policy processes and effects.

For example, we need to be able to characterise and explain the differentiated ways in which education policies and practices do or do not recognise, support or undermine diverse cultural identities and do or do not reproduce various kinds of educational and social inequality.

But we also need to be able to produce some kind of account of what ought to be going on. The latter involves confronting a number of important questions: Why does identity matter? What is ethically entailed by – and what are the limits to – recognising and supporting diverse cultural identities?

In what ways are the various currents of multiculturalism an adequate response to these complex normative questions? In this article, the authors begin to respond to these questions by mapping out some of the dilemmas involved in taking both identity and equality seriously.

Updated: Mar. 23, 2008