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Educating the national citizen in neoliberal times: from the multicultural self to the strategic cosmopolitan

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The paper is a broad, comparative investigation of shifts in the educational rhetoric and policy of three countries over the past two decades. Using England, Canada and the United States as case studies, I argue that the spirit of multiculturalism in education has shifted from a concern with the formation of tolerant and democratic national citizens who can work with and through difference, to a more strategic use of diversity for competitive advantage in the global marketplace. This shift is directly linked with and helps to facilitate the entrenchment of neoliberalism as it supports a privatization agenda, reduces the costs of social reproduction for the government, and aids in the constitution of subjects oriented to individual survival and/or success in the global economy.

Keywords: citizenship; education; multiculturalism; neoliberalism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2003


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