ERIC Number: ED218373
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Anthropology's "Spoiler Role" and "New" Multicultural Textbooks.
Wolcott, Harry F.
The Generator, v12 n2 p1-12 Win 1981
Publishers' requests to review educators' manuscripts on the pedagogy of pluralism have prompted the author to write this paper in which he takes on the anthropological "spoiler role," contradicting generalizations in the texts by providing exceptions from ethnographic research. Admitting to some personal biases about education texts in general and multicultural texts in particular, the writer suggests that manuscripts on multiculturalism misunderstand and misuse the concept of culture and contain generalizations that do not hold up under cross-cultural examination. Expressing skepticism about the suitability of didactic instruction as an approach for achieving whatever purposes a multicultural curriculum is supposed to achieve, the author nevertheless describes some elements that he would like to see in a multicultural textbook. These include hopes that: 1) the book be anthropologically informed; 2) multiculturalism be treated as a common experience of all human beings; 3) the concept of culture be treated as a social science construct concerned with patterned regularities in human behavior; 4) attention be focused on understanding the complex nature rather than the simplicity of multiculturalism; 5) the objectives and limits of multicultural education be clear and attainable; and 6) multiculturalism address the minor differences that touch personal lives more than the great differences of unfamiliar cultures. (Author/MJL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.