Interrogating the trope of the door in multicultural education: Framing diplomatic relations to indigenous political and legal difference

Educational Theory 61 (3):295-310 (2011)
Abstract
In this essay Troy Richardson works to develop a conceptual framework and set of terms by which a diplomatic reception of different forms of law can be developed in multicultural education. Taking up the trope of the door in multiculturalist discourse as a site in which a welcoming of the difference of others is organized, Richardson interrogates the complex nature of receptivity to Indigenous customary law, in particular. He argues that, within this trope, a metonymic structure operates in relation to the deployment of “policy” that maintains a perspective of customary law as premodern and primitive. This structure leads to an impoverished set of terms and a lack of diplomacy toward difference. Richardson proceeds by considering the notion of extraterritoriality and the metonyms that organize Emmanuel Levinas's discourse of “doors” in conceptualizing a welcoming receptivity. The term “extraterritoriality” anticipates the law of the other as it approaches the door and implies a diplomatic moment of reception of such difference. Richardson concludes by highlighting Jacques Derrida's evaluation of Levinas's discourse of receptivity and by considering the possibilities for a diplomatic engagement with the laws of others toward a mutation in the current geopolitical moment
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