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Changing Selves: Multicultural Education and the Challenge of New Identity


by Nadine Dolby — 2000

The concept of identity provides a key framework for multicultural education. Dependent on the idea of the Enlightenment subject, the practices of multicultural education presume a unitary, naturalized self with a stable core. This article questions this formulation of identity and argues that the field must embrace a more dynamic and nuanced notion of self. Using data collected during a one-year ethnographic study of a multiracial high school in Durban, South Africa, I demonstrate how students actively produce self and other relationally. Identity and difference are constituted not through naturalized categories, but instead through practices that have the potential for constant reformation. In conclusion, I examine the implications of these students’ practices for multicultural education, arguing that “difference” must be engaged as a changing, not reified, formation.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 102 Number 5, 2000, p. 898-912
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10620, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 3:45:34 PM

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About the Author
  • Nadine Dolby
    Monash University, Australia
    E-mail Author
    NADINE DOLBY is a lecturer in education, Monash University. She is the author of Constructing Racialized Selves: Youth, Identity, and Popular Culture in South Africa (in press, SUNY Press).
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