Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Social ideologies in two sets of multicultural curricular materials
    Hampel, Bill ( 1980)
    The large increase in the non-British proportion of Australia's population since 1945 has created a demand for greater recognition in schools of cultural difference and a re-affirmation of the goal of equality of educational opportunity. Marxist theories of ideology, hegemony and the State are employed to examine whether 'multicultural' curricular materials which are ostensibly advocating a critical appraisal of the society and subscription to these pluralist goals, are not soliciting support for dominant ideologies. The thesis questions whether they are not acting to reproduce the social order to the detriment of the ethnic minorities they are purporting to serve. The first of the two sets of curricular materials examined, Ethnic Australia, develops a Eurocentric view of exploration and inter-ethnic relations favourable to the needs of .capitalist economic growth. Its criticism of prejudice is unrelenting, but it does not extend it to an adequate analysis of the social conditions which might have generated discrimination and conflict. In its presentation of Italian and Greek cultures, it highlights and reinforces those attitudes and behaviours which are most conducive to an acceptance of competitive individualism under capitalism. The materials entitled Australia : A Multicultural Society, show the benefit of widespread consultation with educators and ethnic groups. They offer a view of culture and a picture of the material circumstances of Greeks and other migrants in Australia which accords with the most recent and carefully conducted research. In delivering a sustained attack on the inadequate provision for migrants in this country, they expose children' to a variety of ideological perspectives gleaned from the media, ethnic communities and the peer culture. Reservations are expressed about the capacity of materials with a liberal reformist ideology to develop in school students a critical awareness of the more intractable social structural barriers to the achievement of social equality and acceptance of cultural difference. Finally, there is brief discussion of the problems of construction and dissemination of critical curricular materials in a publicly funded educational system.