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Discursive Management of Resistance to a Multicultural Education Programme


In the five decades since the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case ended legalized racial segregation in US schools, achieving multiculturalism and diversity have become primary goals in education. Resistance on the part of students to multicultural educational interventions may pose a significant threat to their success. This study investigates how student participants of a multicultural educational intervention discursively manage their resistance to the programme in such a way that they avoid appearing prejudiced. Five strategies are identified whereby students discursively managed their negative evaluations of lessons addressing race and ethnicity: 1) denying prejudice, 2) portraying lessons as uninteresting, 3) constructing diversity as protective against prejudice, 4) normalizing self-segregation and 5)normalizing prejudice and intergroup tension. The article concludes with a discussion of the practical and ideological implications of the discursive practices identified in the study.

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