Cultural diversity and civic education: Two versions of the fragmentation objection

Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (1):57-72 (2010)
Abstract
According to the 'fragmentation objection' to multiculturalism, practices of cultural recognition undermine political stability, and this counts as a reason to be sceptical about the public recognition of minority cultures, as well as about multiculturalism construed more broadly as a public policy. Civic education programmes, designed to promote autonomy, toleration and patriotism, have been justified as a corrective to the fragmentary tendencies of multiculturalism. This paper distinguishes between two versions of the fragmentation objection, in order to evaluate this particular justification of civic education. The cultural fragmentation version of the objection emphasises the importance of a common identity and a shared sense of belonging for political stability, whilst the value fragmentation version of the objection emphasises the importance of shared values for political stability. It is argued that neither version of the objection successfully demonstrates that multiculturalism is incompatible with political stability. However, narrow versions of each objection provide reasons to favour the promotion of toleration in public schooling, and reasons to be sceptical about the promotion of patriotism. Meanwhile, justifications of the cultivation of autonomy must appeal to values other than political stability.
Keywords liberal nationalism  civic education  political liberalism  multiculturalism
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    David Archard (1999). Should We Teach Patriotism? Studies in Philosophy and Education 18 (3):157-173.

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