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Critical Race Theory and Education: racism and anti-racism in educational theory and praxis

By David Gillborn


What is Critical Race Theory (CRT) and what does it offer educational researchers and practitioners outside the US? This paper addresses these questions by examining the recent history of antiracist research and policy in the UK. In particular, the paper argues that conventional forms of antiracism have proven unable to keep pace with the development of increasingly racist and exclusionary education polices that operate beneath a veneer of professed tolerance and diversity. In particular, contemporary antiracism lacks clear statements of principle and theory that risk reinventing the wheel with each new study; it is increasingly reduced to a meaningless slogan; and it risks appropriation within a reformist “can do” perspective dominated by the de-politicized and managerialist language of school effectiveness and improvement. In contrast, CRT offers a genuinely radical and coherent set of approaches that could revitalize critical research in education across a range of inquiries, not only in self-consciously "multicultural" studies. The paper reviews the developing terrain of CRT in education, identifying its key defining elements and the conceptual tools that characterise the work. CRT in education is a fast changing and incomplete project but it can no longer be ignored by the academy beyond North America

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/01596300500510229
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