Cultural Sustainability, Social Cohesion and Glocal Education
Zvi Bekerman - Hebrew University of Jerusalem, School of Education, The Melton Centre
Miriam Ben Peretz – University of Haifa, Department of Education
David Zisenwine - Tel Aviv University, The Kelman Center
Modern education systems function to build social cohesion through homogenization, whether in decentralized and varied school systems as in the USA or in highly unified and centralized systems as in France. The main vehicles for homogenization are language, culture, values, texts, secularism, epistemologies, interpretations, codes of conduct, design, and curricula; yet their efficacy in actually promoting positive forms of social cohesion remains unclear and varied. At the same time, cultural diversity and cultural sustainability pose challenges to the social cohesion agenda of education both for those concerned with integrating diverse groups within a nation-state and for those oriented to enhancing equity and autonomy for a particular ethnic or cultural community.
The question of whether culturally specific – faith, ethnic, linguistic, Diaspora, Indigenous – education exacerbates societal divisions has been an ongoing issue in modern political settings, despite the lip-service paid to diversity being a source of civic strength and pride. A plethora of educational solutions have been attempted with more or less success. Questions concerning which educational policies/approaches/curricula/strategies are better and in which contexts remain open, as do the implications for their multiple potential beneficiaries (states, communities, parents, students, and teachers). Some have even denied cultural sustainability as a relevant concept for it reifies and essentializes cultures and group boundaries in ways that can be less than liberating, not to mention empirically hard to demonstrate.
The great challenge confronting our world today is how to balance the competing interests of sustainability and social cohesion, and how to overcome local and international divides that threaten the spirit of cooperation needed to acknowledge the rich diversity that characterizes both global and local societies. Creating shared meanings, while validating diversity, is a pre-condition to securing the world guaranteeing our co-existence. Education that is sensitive to these issues can vastly contribute to an increased sense of civic global and local belonging, and promote a shared civic vision and agenda.
The Conference on Cultural Sustainability, Social Cohesion and Glocal Education will focus on these complex questions and issues from multiple disciplinary theoretical (psychology, sociology, education, economics, history, literature) and methodological perspectives. More specifically the conference wishes to critically examine the repertoire of educational strategies and pedagogies available to approach these issues and their implications for their multiple potential beneficiaries (states, communities, parents, students, and teachers).
The conference will bring together scholars who have dealt with these issues in the context of studies of minority, migrant, diaspora, and indigenous education throughout the world. In doing so, it will offer a unique opportunity to enrich the knowledge, communication, and cross-pollination of ideas of those who have, because of academic constraints, sustained parallel yet segregated scholarly inquires.
The conference will take place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in June 2013.
Interested parties should submit an abstract of 600-800 words (not including bibliography) that describes in detail the subject chosen, research aims, a review of relevant literature, methodology adopted and findings. Abstracts should be submitted in a word document (font: Times New Roman, 12 points, double spaced) according to the following format:
Abstracts should be sent to Zvi Bekerman firstname.lastname@example.org before March 1, 2012. Decisions will made by March 30th, 2012. If accepted, participants will be asked to pay a participation fee of $100. A copy of the accepted papers should be submitted by January 1st, 2013.
We count with a limited number of stipends to support the participation of authors of outstanding papers.
The organizers will publish an edited volume with the best papers presented in the conference. Other outstanding papers can be submitted for special issues of DIME - Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: An International Journal.
The Conference is devoted to facilitate further interdisciplinary research on the topics discussed and should provide possibilities for international cooperation in research (comparative) projects.
Organization and Accommodation
The Hebrew University - School of Education, Melton Center will be responsible for the organization and administration of the conference.
Hotel accommodation will be booked independently by participants. More information on accommodations will be supplied as the date approaches. (Suggested: The Faculty Club of the Hebrew University http://www.bmfc.huji.ac.il/eng/ )
Zvi Bekerman, Ph.D.
School of Education, Melton Center
Fax + 972 2 5322211
Tel + 972 2 5882120
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