We Are All Cosmopolitans Now?: Complexity, Cultural Intelligence and Reflexive Civility
Greg Noble and Megan Watkins
Board Room, 2 Priory Road
Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship Seminar Series
Board Room, 2 Priory Road - Thursday 28th January, 4pm
After years of sustained criticism of multiculturalism and policy retreat across the West, multicultural education is in a crisis of rationale, seen by left and right to represent a problematic response to increasing cultural diversity. Several labels have emerged to grapple with these circumstances – post-multiculturalism, interculturalism – but they often derive from theoretical debate. Drawing on empirical data, this paper explores how ‘culture’ is deployed in school practices to argue that multicultural education continues to rely on schemas of perception which reify ethnic differences and an ‘unreflective civility’ that rests on moralistic discourse about social harmony. The paper suggests, however, that analysis of schools demonstrates an ‘ordinary cosmopolitanism’: pragmatic negotiations of difference premised on acknowledgement of affinities and conflicts. It argues for an education that addresses cultural hybridity and promotes ‘reflexive civility’, premised on the formation of a ‘cultural intelligence’ which develops capacities for understanding the cultural complexity of a globalised world.