Liberalism and Group Identities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The essays in Part III of the book, on liberal constraints and traditionalist education, argue for a more regulatory conception of liberal education and emphasize the need for some controls over cultural and religious educational authority. In the last chapter, on liberalism and group rights, according to Stephen Macedo, while the commitment of liberalism to individual freedom and equality is far more easily reconciled with groupbased remedies for group-based inequalities than the critics of liberalism allow, the liberal commitment to freedom of association imposes limits on group recognition by insisting on intragroup openness and diversity. The chapter has two main parts. Section 15.1, Liberalism, Education, and Group Identities, rebuts the charge that a liberal public philosophy embraces a narrow individualism that is incompatible with tackling groupbased forms of inequality, and surveys some of the myriad liberal reforms of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s that promoted more equal respect for differing group identities, especially in schools. Section 15.2, Special Exemptions and the Rights of Traditional Communities, focuses on the difficulties raised by "traditionalistic" groups that seek special accommodations in part because they reject liberal values of equal freedom for all, and makes the point that a liberal regime should not seek to be equally hospitable or accommodating to groups that accept and those that reject educational policies designed to promote the equal freedom of all persons; various examples are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCitizenship and Education in Liberal-Democratic Societies
Subtitle of host publicationTeaching for Cosmopolitan Values and Collective Identities
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191601972
ISBN (Print)9780199253661
StatePublished - Jan 20 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Cultural authority
  • Education
  • Educational authority
  • Educational policy
  • Equality
  • Freedom of association
  • Group identities
  • Group rights
  • Individual freedom
  • Individualism
  • Inequality
  • Intragroup diversity
  • Intragroup openness
  • Liberal education
  • Liberal reforms
  • Liberalism
  • Religious authority
  • Rights
  • Rights of traditional communities
  • Special exemptions
  • Traditional communities
  • Traditionalist education


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