© 2012

International Handbook of Migration, Minorities and Education

Understanding Cultural and Social Differences in Processes of Learning

  • Zvi Bekerman
  • Thomas Geisen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages 1-1
  2. Culture, Difference and Learning

  3. Education in Multilingual Societies

About this book


Migrants and minorities are always at risk of being caught in essentialized cultural definitions and being denied the right to express their cultural preferences because they are perceived as threats to social cohesion. Migrants and minorities respond to these difficulties in multiple ways — as active agents in the pedagogical, political, social, and scientific processes that position them in this or that cultural sphere. On the one hand, they reject ascribed cultural attributes while striving towards integration in a variety of social spheres, e.g. school and workplace, in order to achieve social mobility. On the other hand, they articulate demands for cultural self-determination. This discursive duality is met with suspicion by the majority culture. For societies with high levels of migration or with substantial minority cultures, questions related to the meaning of cultural heterogeneity and the social and cultural limits of learning and communication (e.g. migration education or critical multiculturalism) are very important. It is precisely here where the chances for new beginnings and new trials become of great importance for educational theorizing, which urgently needs to find answers to current questions about individual freedom, community/cultural affiliations, and social and democratic cohesion. Answers to these questions must account for both ‘political’ and ‘learning’ perspectives at the macro, mezzo, and micro contextual levels. The contributions of this edited volume enhance the knowledge in the field of migrant/minority education, with a special emphasis on the meaning of culture and social learning for educational processes.


acceptance adaptation assimilation belonging conflict of cultures cultural culture differences education educational research emancipation ethnic exclusion governance heterogeneity immigrants integration international learning learning process migration minorities minority education multiculturalism networks recognition school policies schooling self-determination social social change social cohesion social learning social limits social mobility socialisation transculturality

Editors and affiliations

  • Zvi Bekerman
    • 1
  • Thomas Geisen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Education, Melton CenterHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit, Institut Integration und PartizipationFachhochschule NordwestschweizOltenSwitzerland

About the editors

Zvi Bekerman, teaches anthropology of education at the School of Education and the Melton Center, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 2003 to 2007 he was a Research Fellow at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University. His main interests are in the study of cultural, ethnic and national identity, including identity processes and negotiation during intercultural encounters and in formal/informal learning contexts. Since 1999 he has been conducting, with the support of the Ford, Spencer and Bernard Van Leer Foundations, a long term ethnographic research project on the integrated/bilingual Palestinian-Jewish schools in Israel. He has also recently become involved in the study of identity construction and development in educational computer-mediated environments. In brief, his interests lie in human learning processes, their development and practice, both in formal/informal and real/virtual environments; processes which, from the socio-historical perspectives within which he has been raised and from which he continues to learn, comprise a large portion of human activity. He has published numerous papers in these fields of study and is the editor (with Seonaigh MacPherson) of the refereed journal Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: An International Journal (Taylor & Francis, 2007). His recently published books include (edited with Nicholas Burbules and Diana Keller Silverman) Learning in Places: The Informal Education Reader (Peter Lang, 2006); (with Claire McGlynn) Addressing Ethnic Conflict through Peace Education: International Perspectives (Palgrave McMillan, 2007); (with Ezra Kopelowitz) Cultural Education-Cultural Sustainability: Minority, Diaspora, Indigenous and Ethno-Religious Groups in Multicultural Societies (Routledge Education – LEA, 2008) and (with Diana Silberman-Keller, Henry A. Giroux, and Nicholas Burbules) Mirror Images: Popular Culture and Education (Peter Lang – 2008).

Thomas Geisen, is senior lecturer and researcher at the School of Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. His main interests are in the study of migration, ethnicity and cultural issues as well as in questions of identity and belonging. Other fields of interest and research are work/labor relations and violence. His research encompasses racism, migrant families, family relations of right-wing youth and disability management. He has published numerous books and papers in these fields; among his recent publications are:  Arbeit und Subjektwerdung in der Moderne. Ein dialogue imaginaire zwischen Karl Marx und Hannah Arendt (VS Verlag, 2011); (edited with Henry Harder) Disability Management and Workplace Integration (Gower, 2011); (edited with Pat Cox and Roger Green) Qualitative Research and Social Change. European Contexts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); (edited with Anthony Andrew Hickey and Allen Karcher) Migration, Mobility and Borders. Issues of Theory and Policy (IKO Verlag, 2004); (edited with Christine Riegel) Jugend, Partizipation und Migration. Orientierungen im Kontext von Integration und Ausgrenzung (VS Verlag, 2007) and Jugend, Zugehörigkeit und Migration. Subjektpositionierungen im Kontext von Jugendkultur, Ethnizitäts- und Geschlechterkonstruktionen (VS Verlag, 2007); edited Arbeitsmigration. WanderarbeiterInnen auf dem Weltmarkt für Arbeitskraft (IKO Verlag, 2005).

Bibliographic information