, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 143-156

The Fine Art of Sitting on Two Stools: Multicultural Education Between Postmodernism and Critical Theory

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Abstract

The paper examines two philosophical origins of multicultural education -- postmodern philosophy and critical theory. Critical theory is closely connected to grand narrative of liberation, while postmodern tradition rejects such narrative. The ambivalence of fundamental assumptions makes multicultural theory vulnerable to criticism. However, author maintains, this ambivalence can be a strength rather than a weakness of the multicultural theory. Using Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of polyphony, author attempts to show that incompatible theoretical perspectives may productively coexist within framework of dialogical engagement. The result of such dialogical relations is reciprocal change and not an eventual merge.

(With Support of NAE/Spencer Foundation)