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Our Political State in an Age of Globalization

  • John Willinsky

Abstract

For as long as there have been public schools in the West, with their flagpoles and colored maps on the wall, the nation has functioned as an educational apparatus for positioning people, for teaching the young and old not only who’s who, but who-belongs-where. If we have indeed entered into a new, postimperial age of globalism, then it may be a good time to contemplate not only possible futures for the nation, but for considering our educational responsibilities in directing that future toward what has always been promised in the name of the nation, namely the right to join together in the making of a better world. I want to consider the schools are to do with this idea of the nation. What is to be made of this critical juncture of multinational, transnational, and post-national globalism? Among recent signs of a the shift are the debates of the United Nations that weigh human rights against national rights, which challenge the UN’s traditional protection of national interests. Canada’s Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy has commissioned an international study on how to begin thinking beyond the nation in protecting human rights: “Our take has been that since the end of the cold war we have to focus on the individuals, on the people. That is as much in the charter as sovereignty.”1

Keywords

National Identity Initial Public Offering Democratic Process Public Reason Public Deliberation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    John Tomlinson, Cultural Imperialism (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 175.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (Reno, NE: University of Nevada Press, 1991) for a detailed discussion of the elements of national identity.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983), p. 125.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Sunera Thobani, “Closing Ranks: Racism and Sexism in Canada’s Immigrant Policy,” Race & Class 42:1 (2000): 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 8.
    The liberal principles of free association and informed consent among equals gathered together to protect the rights and liberties of all are secured in the Western tradition through Locke and Mill: “That which begins and actually constitutes any political society,” John Locke held, as the very voice of reason in the seventeenth century, “is nothing but the consent of any number of freemen, capable of majority, to unite and incorporate into such a society,” in Of Civil Government: Two Treatises (London: J. M. Dent, 1924, originally 1690), p. 166. Or as John Stuart Mills had it nearly two centuries later: “The ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty or supreme controlling power in the last resort is vested in the entire aggregate of the community every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but bring at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public function, local or general.” Mills, John Stuart, “Of Representative Government,” in Utilitarianism, Liberty and Representative Government (London: Dent, 1910, originally 1861), p. 207.Google Scholar
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    I discuss these issues of the public sphere elsewhere, in If Only We Knew: Increasing the Public Value of Social Science Research (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 195–220; Technologies of Knowing: A Proposal for the Human Sciences (Boston: Beacon, 1999), pp. 126–152. See also Craig Calhoun (ed.), Habermas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992).Google Scholar
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    The bowling hypothesis, which addresses a more general decline in civic participation, is found in Robert D. Putman, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Pericles Trifonas 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Willinsky

There are no affiliations available

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