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Siege cultures and the mythology of nationhood: the implications for the maturation of education systems
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 12:39 authored by Leslie Bash
This paper examines the notion of a siege culture in which a self-defined minority community comes to perceive itself as being under threat from the dominant group within the society in which it is located and, as a response, has developed a conservative ideology based upon a mythologised collectivity. Siege cultures will tend to manifest themselves in ethnocentric terms and may frequently incorporate anachronistic perspectives on social divisions. Siege cultures may therefore be said to be in a state of continual production and reproduction-indeed, of re-invention-and require the support of educational institutions organised along separatist lines. Inevitably, this will have ramifications for national education systems, which may need to respond to the pressures resulting from resistance from such cultures to the hegemony of the dominant group. Except where the central state is strong and is able to subordinate the demands of minority communities through the process of de-legitimisation or through expulsion, there will be a tendency towards unresolved tensions, conflicts and contradictions. A possible explanatory framework for this phenomenon may be derived from the metaphor of social maturation in which societies fail to change sufficiently to meet the demands of legitimate constituencies and thus inhibit the development of a properly functioning social system. This may suggest a paradigm drawn from modernist, positivistic or even Marxist traditions, and that while current trends, as viewed cross-nationally, seem to point to the rise of 'ethnicism', we should be alerted to the dangers of separatist schooling which reinforces the ethnocentrism of some minority communities.
Publication titleIntercultural Education
PublisherTaylor & Francis