Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inventing pluralistic education: Compulsory schooling as technique of democratic deliberation
by McConnell, Kathleen Fiona, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008, 252; 3331357
Abstract (Summary)

Using an understanding of rhetoric as techniques of deliberation, this project identifies rhetorical strategies for overcoming the ongoing resistance to desegregation of the compulsory school system by re-imagining the role of diversity in education and schools' role in political deliberation. The 2007 Supreme Court ruling that outlaws the use of quotas as a means of maintaining racial balance in our schools signals the need to look beyond the courts for ways to make desegregation a compelling and viable project. In addition to legal defeats, common arguments in favor of desegregation, such as calls for "equal opportunity" and "tolerance," no longer seem to inspire families and educators to makes changes in the schools. Believing that a renewed investment in desegregation must come from somewhere other than legal discourses and liberalist ideals, I have looked primarily at psychology texts for possible arguments in favor of cultivating diverse student populations.

My chief objective is to identify arguments that defend the technocracy of schooling, which is to say its engineered, contrived, imposing, and institutional aspects. Drawing upon an understanding of technical knowledge as inventive cultural habit, I argue on behalf of making technical knowledge the focus of compulsory schooling. For technical knowledge to serve pluralistic education, however, schools must defy standardization, recognize the political value of imposition, and look to diversity as a resource. To that end, I identify rhetorics that defend the impositions of desegregation as necessary for challenging ethnocentricity, and that advocate for diversity as a means of preventing technical homogeneity. Such arguments enable a re-framing of compulsory schooling as an obligatory institutional exercise in socialization for a diverse society.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Terrill, Robert E.
Commitee: Goodman, Jesse, Lucaites, John L., Pezzullo, Phaedra C.
School: Indiana University
Department: Communication and Culture
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education history, Rhetoric
Keywords: Compulsory schooling, Pluralism, Political judgment, Rhetoric, Techne
Publication Number: 3331357
ISBN: 978-0-549-89324-0
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