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Italian Journal of Sociology of Education


Interculturalism, Intercultural education, Multiculturalism, Governmentality


A new intercultural framework for education is being developed as a pedagogical response to increasingly multi-ethnic societies in Europe. This framework has been gaining ground during the last decade within EU Institutions (Commission of the European Communities, European Commission, Council of Ministers, OECD, OSCE) and the Council of Europe Documents and replacing multiculturalism as the guiding framework. This shift has generated an ardent debate between multiculturalists and interculturalists. Indeed, there is much criticism of the interculturalist framework. This article positions itself within this current debate and offers a critical analysis of the conceptual mapping of interculturalism within which there are tensions, ambiguities, and often conflicting goals and strategies. In addition, this work highlights the problematic dynamics intrinsic in the theoretical framework of interculturalism as a political and philosophical framework as well as in its pedagogical manifestation in educational settings as intercultural education. We analyze this educational framework from a stance of sociology of education taking into account the institution of schooling as one that is contextualized in existing socio-political dynamics, narratives, and lived-realities.