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ERIC Number: ED378074
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
From a Politics of Self-Interest to a Multiculturally-Based Politics of Needs.
Brettschneider, Marla
This paper demonstrates that the problem of a theory of politics based on self-interest is that it squelches diversity behind a mask of "the common good" that results in a theoretical justification of inequality. Through philosophical critique, this paper presents the case for a move from a politics of self-interest toward a multiculturally-based politics of needs. The first part of the paper analyzes the roots of the assumption of self-interest in contemporary group theory. To this end, an analysis of traditional liberal philosophy is provided in order to unmask the notion of the "common good," that can be set apart from and opposed to private interests, as a mythic construction of the particular interests of some, called upon to justify the stifling of others. Such an analysis demonstrates the inegalitarian bias inherent in group theory's assumption of narrowly self-interested groups at odds with the public good. The leap from humans seeking to fulfill benign and uncontestable needs to the hierarchically organized protection of a class of private property owners is the Hobbesian paradigm, where fear of difference and the need to suppress it are made more explicit. The second part of this paper demonstrates specifically how, through a bourgeois process of commodification, legitimate and concrete needs come to be understood in abstract terms as interests. As educators seek to develop multicultural education, the experience of those excluded and oppressed in the current system based in sameness and fear of difference can be used to develop a curriculum that actively encourages diversity. Contains 55 references. (DK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A