ERIC Number: ED436440
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Within These Many Lies the American One: Multiculturalism, Citizenship Training, and the Construction of an American "Paideia."
Davis, Terri B.
The idea of an American "paideia" (an ideal national public culture) is implicit in U.S. civic education and citizenship training. The role of schools in producing a particular type of character capable of sustaining the democratic regime has long been recognized and democratic principles have long guided civic education policy. This paper elaborates the arguments and meanings expressed through the literature on multiculturalism and argues that multiculturalism advocates a specific conception of an ideal national public culture. Two specific claims about multiculturalism are advanced. First, multiculturalism is a unique contemporary expression of a historical idea known as cultural pluralism. Second, the literature in multiculturalism contains both a unified vision of U.S. political culture and a variety of diverse theories concerning the specific political and philosophical principles to be used in constructing an ideal national political culture. The questions presented for citizenship training that derive from the debate about multiculturalism involve how a national public culture can be constructed from the diverse cultures in U.S. society and whether the U.S. "paideia" envisioned by multiculturalism is a desirable model for civic education. Includes 121 references. (LB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (94th, Boston, MA, September 3-6, 1998).