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Multicultural states and intercultural citizens

February 19, 2012

The term ‘citizenship’ typically refers to membership in a political community, and hence designates a relationship between the individual and the state. Any conception of citizenship, therefore, will inevitably make assumptions about both poles of this relationship, i.e. about the individual and the state. Different models of citizenship rest upon different images of the nature of the state, and/or on different images of the nature of the individuals who belong to it.” (147)

The abstract for this article is also informative: “Citizenship refers to membership in a political community, and hence designates a relationship between the individual and the state. One way to explore the idea of a ‘multicultural citizenship’, therefore, is to identify its images of the state and of the individual. First, we can ask about multiculturalism at the level of the state: what would it mean for the constitution, institutions and laws of the state to be multicultural? Second, we can ask about interculturalism at the level of the individual citizen: what sorts of knowledge, beliefs, virtues, and dispositions would an intercultural citizen possess? Ideally, these two levels should work together: there should be a fit between our model of the multicultural state and the intercultural citizen. This article identifies three conflicts between promoting desired forms of interculturalism within individual citizens, and discusses the challenges they raise for theories of multicultural education.” (146)

Ref: (emphases in bold blue mine) Will Kymlicka (2003) Multicultural states and intercultural citizens Theory and Research in Education. 1(2), 147-169

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