Toward a ‘paideia of the soul’: Education to Enrich America’s Multicultural Democracy

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Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

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Intercultural Education

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What role might education play in the reinvigoration of a robust American democracy? We argue that common understandings of democracy, citizenship, and democratic education are too anemic to right the political inequalities and stagnancies that have deadened American democracy. Instead, we look to notions of paideia and an educated, enlightened citizenry to shape a multicultural democratic education. Multicultural democratic education cultivates the full and flourishing lives and minds of all citizens in American democracy rather than focusing on narrow preparation for voting. It does this through the practice of critical and authentic caring, the cultivation of community across difference, the connection to a global context, and the opportunity for social action. Most importantly, multicultural democratic education takes as its starting point equity and justice in a pluralistic society by committing to the cultivation of the minds and intellects of all students – in stark contrast to the unequal and mind-numbing education that most marginalized and minority students receive.


Intercultural Education, Vol. 23, No. 4 (2012): 313-324. DOI.