Challenges for Interethnic Relations, Language, and Educational Equity in Asia

  • Christine HalseEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 32)


This chapter takes a bird’s-eye view of the insights from preceding chapters by interrogating some of the overarching issues shaping the relationship between ethnic minorities, language education, and educational equity internationally and their implications for the future. It details the worldwide rise in interethnic conflict and argues that academic scholarship, notably from the USA and Europe, has historically dominated thinking about the relationship between ethnic minorities, language, and educational equity. It compares how and why different paradigms and approaches – multiculturalism and interculturalism – have developed in each region and contrasts these with the radically different conditions in Asia. In devising a way forward for societies in Asia, the chapter argues that a key intellectual challenge remains the “category conundrum,” illustrating its manifestation in language policies for ethnic minorities in Asia. Noting the additional influences elaborated by other contributors such as racism, the chapter considers two directions for future research, policy and practice: facilitating “rootedness or belonging” among ethnic minorities and the development of policies and practices framed in terms of the “distinctive social and political contexts, and cultural heritages and traditions within Asia”.


  1. Amin, A. (2010). The remainders of race. Theory, Culture & Society, 27(1), 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonsich, M. (2015). Interculturalism versus multiculturalism – The Cantle-Modood debate. Ethnicities, 35(8), 1–24.Google Scholar
  3. Banks, J. A. (2004). Multicultural education: Historical development, dimensions, and practice. In J. A. Banks & C. McGee Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (pp. 3–29). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Bauman, Z. (1993). Postmodern ethics. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Calhoun, C. (2003). ‘Belonging’ in the cosmopolitan imaginary. Ethnicities, 3(4), 531–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Council of Europe. (2008). White paper on intercultural dialogue: “Living together as equals in dignity”. Retrieved from
  7. Crowley, J. (1999). The politics of belonging: Some theoretical considerations. In A. Geddes & A. Favell (Eds.), The politics of belonging: Migrants and minorities in contemporary Europe (pp. 15–41). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  8. Grant, C. A. (Ed.). (2011). Intercultural and multicultural education: Enhancing global interconnectedness. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Halse, C. (2015). (Re)thinking Asia literacy. In C. Halse (Ed.), Asia literate schooling in the Asian century (pp. 1–10). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Halse, C. (2017). Responsibility for racism in the everyday talk of secondary students. Discourse: Cultural Studies in the Politics of Education, 38(1), 2–15.Google Scholar
  11. Halse, C. (2018a). Looking in from outside: Schools and schooling in Asia from an outside perspective. In K. Kennedy & J. Lee (Eds.), Routledge handbook on schools and schooling in Asia (pp. 58–72). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Halse, C. (2018b). Theories and theorizing of belonging. In C. Halse (Ed.), Interrogating belonging for young people in schools (pp. 1–28). London: Palgrave McMillian.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Halse, C., Black, R., & Charles, C. (2018). Young people on asylum seekers: The dirty work of boundary making in the politics of belonging. In C. Halse (Ed.), Interrogating belonging for young people in schools (pp. 117–140). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holm, G., & Zilliacus, H. (2009). Multicultural education and intercultural education: Is there a difference? In M. Talib, J. Loima, H. Paavola, & S. Patrikainen (Eds.), Dialogs on diversity and global education (pp. 11–28). Berlin: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  15. Kymlicka, W., & He, B. (2005). Multiculturalism in Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meer, N., & Modood, T. (2011). How does interculturalism contrast with multiculturalism? Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33(2), 175–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. N-IUSSP (2017, September 11). Majority to minority: the declining U.S. white population [Online news article]. Retrieved from
  18. Ramakrishna, K. (2008). Opening address. (Un)problematic multiculturalism and social resilience. Report of a Conference Organized by the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from
  19. Simon, P. (2012). Collecting ethnic statistics in Europe: A review. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(8), 1366–1391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sleeter, C. (1996). Multicultural education as social activism. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  21. Sleeter, C. (1999). Empowerment through multicultural education: From reproduction to contestation of social inequality through schooling. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  22. UNESCO. (2001). Universal declaration on cultural diversity. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  23. UNESCO. (2006). UNESCO guidelines on intercultural education. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  24. UNESCO. (2009). Investing in cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue: Executive summary. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  25. UNESCO. (2013). Intercultural competences: Conceptual and operational Framework. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  26. Yuval-Davis, N. (2011). The politics of belonging: Intersectional contestations. London: SAGE.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Education University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina

Personalised recommendations