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Introduction

  • Author(s): Fischler, Raphael
  • et al.
Abstract

The year 1991 certainly has been fertile in extraordinary events. The war in the Persian Gulf and the failed coup d'etat in the Soviet Union will receive ample space in history textbooks. The same probably holds for the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court of the United States and the after-shocks of his confirmation hearings. Yet in the short term, perhaps another development is of greater significance to planners and planning academics. This year has also been the year of "political correctness." With the "PC" debate, what came to the fore are not only academic problems but also, and more importantly, problems of collective identity and of the distribution of power in a multicultural society.

All of these events, international and national, are linked by more than a common position in the calendar. In each of them-the breakdown of the Soviet empire, the Gulf War, and the debate over "political correct­ ness"-one specific issue deserves further attention here. That issue is: critique vs. orthodoxy.

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