Schooling and Cultural Maintenance for Religious Minorities in the Liberal State

In Kevin McDonough & Walter Feinberg (eds.), Citizenship and Education in Liberal-Democratic Societies: Teaching for Cosmopolitan Values and Collective Identities. Oxford University Press (2003)
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This is the last of the four essays in Part II of the book on liberalism and traditionalist education; all four are by authors who would like to find ways for the liberal state to honour the self-definitions of traditional cultures and to find ways of avoiding a confrontation with differences. One of the tasks of the book is to separate out different kinds of affiliation and the extent to which the arguments made about cultural recognition can be extended to other objects of affiliation. Mark Halstead’s chapter on schooling and cultural maintenance for religious minorities in the liberal state provides a catalogue of the different types of groups that are to be found in liberal societies, and the different kinds of cultural and educational claims that are typically attached to each of them. His definition of minority group is useful in conceptualizing many of the papers in the volume. The chapter falls into three sections: Section 10.1, which looks at four types of disadvantaged minorities, attempts to distinguish non-Western fundamentalist religious minorities living in the West from other minorities that may experience disadvantage of various kinds in liberal societies; Section 10.2, on religious minorities in the liberal state, explores some of the educational and other difficulties encountered by such religious minorities in more detail, and typical liberal responses; Section 10.3, on rethinking the liberal response, contains some proposals that are designed to meet the educational needs of both the liberal state and the religious minorities at the same time.



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John Halstead
Oxford University

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