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International Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education

by Zvi Bekerman Thomas Geisen

Migrants and minorities are always at risk of being caught in essentialized cultural definitions and being denied the right to express their cultural preferences because they are perceived as threats to social cohesion. Migrants and minorities respond to these difficulties in multiple ways -- as active agents in the pedagogical, political, social, and scientific processes that position them in this or that cultural sphere. On the one hand, they reject ascribed cultural attributes while striving towards integration in a variety of social spheres, e.g. school and workplace, in order to achieve social mobility. On the other hand, they articulate demands for cultural self-determination. This discursive duality is met with suspicion by the majority culture. For societies with high levels of migration or with substantial minority cultures, questions related to the meaning of cultural heterogeneity and the social and cultural limits of learning and communication (e.g. migration education or critical multiculturalism) are very important. It is precisely here where the chances for new beginnings and new trials become of great importance for educational theorizing, which urgently needs to find answers to current questions about individual freedom, community/cultural affiliations, and social and democratic cohesion. Answers to these questions must account for both 'political' and 'learning' perspectives at the macro, mezzo, and micro contextual levels. The contributions of this edited volume enhance the knowledge in the field of migrant/minority education, with a special emphasis on the meaning of culture and social learning for educational processes.

Teaching Contested Narratives

by Michalinos Zembylas Zvi Bekerman

In troubled societies narratives about the past tend to be partial and explain a conflict from narrow perspectives that justify the national self and condemn, exclude and devalue the 'enemy' and their narrative. Through a detailed analysis, Teaching Contested Narratives reveals the works of identity, historical narratives and memory as these are enacted in classroom dialogues, canonical texts and school ceremonies. Presenting ethnographic data from local contexts in Cyprus and Israel, and demonstrating the relevance to educational settings in countries which suffer from conflicts all over the world, the authors explore the challenges of teaching narratives about the past in such societies, discuss how historical trauma and suffering are dealt with in the context of teaching, and highlight the potential of pedagogical interventions for reconciliation. The book shows how the notions of identity, memory and reconciliation can perpetuate or challenge attachments to essentialized ideas about peace and conflict.

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