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International Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education

Understanding Cultural and Social Differences in Processes of Learning

International Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education by Zvi Bekerman
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Educational research on migration and minorities has a long record of research and discussion in which the so-called ‘conflict of cultures’ has been seen as the crucial reason for the marginalization of migrants and minority members since they grow up with a fundamental cleavage between cultures.

In educational theory, this thesis is now under review because it has been shown to support essentializing processes of ethnization and culturalization. The ‘in-between-ness’ of minorities is no longer seen only as a hindrance but also as a benefit for biographical development. In this branch of educational debate ‘transculturality’ and ‘recognition’ are posited as highly relevant concepts which define belonging differently, by referring to networks, relatives and interactions.

However, in turn these, too, must be approached critically, since the perspectives of ‘transculturality’ and ‘recognition’ seem to neglect the relevance of social belonging.

Migrants and minorities are affected by these theoretical directions and debates because they are always at risk of being caught in essentialized cultural definitions and being perceived as threats to social unity. Migrants and minorities respond to these difficulties in multiple ways. On the one hand, they strive 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. For educational processes in 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 are very important. It is precisely here where educational theorizing, urgently needs to find answers to current questions about individual freedom, community/cultural affiliations, and social and democratic cohesion. The contributions of this edited volume will 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.

Springer Netherlands; October 2011
742 pages; ISBN 9789400714663
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Title: International Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education
Author: Zvi Bekerman; Thomas Geisen
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