Concept Archaeology: The Proof is [Not] Out There

I have decided to delve into the research for the question:

“Has the definition of ‘diversity’ changed or been misconstrued between the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era? What role does colorblindness play into that evolution?”

I am starting with my first source, H. Richard Milner IV’s, “Rethinking Achievement Talks in Urban Education”.  I want to use his framework of addressing certain concepts in the United States’ education system as social constructs.  Using the concept of “gaps” and providing the overlooked gaps, Milner established a framework for which he could elaborate in explaining the opportunity gaps:

  1. Colorblindness
  2. Cultural conflicts
  3. Myth of Meritocracy
  4. Low expectations and deficit mindsets
  5. Context-neutral mindsets and practices

Through my research, I want to find out if any of these have a role in teaching students diversity, or if the change in the meaning of diversity directly affects any of these.  Milner was able to conclude that these related to social constructs through the research of M. W. Apple’s idea of knowledge being a social construct.

This led me to finding M. W. Apple’s, “Understanding and Interrupting Neoliberalism and Neoconservativism in Education” in “Pedagogies: An International Journal“.  Unfortunately, I could not find this work on Google or in my university’s databases in the full extent, but he wrote about his own work on  “In this article I describe the ideological strategies of neoliberal and neoconservative educational reforms on the educational systems of the North and West. The principal strategies entail the labelling of culturally and economically disenfranchised communities through media and political debate in ways that shift responsibility for their educational marginalisation to both teachers and these communities themselves. The goals of educational systems are then recast in narrowly economic terms that call for market-based reforms. Democratic educational reform is examined as an alternative, with specific examples from Brazil and the United States. so I looked up some of his other works (Apple 2016).”  I found this to be interesting because it could tie into a framework that I have already studied: the Strict Father vs. Nurturing Parent approaches.  I could take this and apply it to the objects of study in the educational realm.

Being that I could not check the bibliography, I googled some more works by Apple, and I found one titled, “Challenging the epistemological fog: The roles of the scholar/activist in education”.  I was also unable to find this in the databases of google or my school, but Apple described the inspiration for the research article to come from “a very difficult time in education. Neoliberal and neoconservative policies have had major effects on schools, on communities, on administrators, on teachers, and on all school staff. A new alliance has integrated education into a wider set of ideological commitments. The objectives in education are the same as those that guide economic and social welfare goals. They include the dramatic expansion of that eloquent fiction, the free market; the drastic reduction of government responsibility for social needs; the reinforcement of intensely competitive structures of mobility both inside and outside the school; the lowering of people’s expectations for economic security; the ‘disciplining’ of culture and the body; and the popularization of what is clearly a form of Social Darwinist thinking. In response to this, I detail nine tasks in which the critical scholar/activist should engage in fulfilling the role of the public intellectual. Such tasks are crucial if we are to collectively deal with the current crisis (Apple 2016).”  I would like to use this to research more about the specific role of the activists in the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era because activists are the ones reacting to the pressures and creating a climate for progress. By studying how the activists changed their style of activism, I can see how the interpretations of “diversity” evolved as well.

The bibliography for this was posted for some odd reason even though the article itself was not.  Through this, I found an article written by TM Alexiu and T Sorde titled, “How to turn difficulties into opportunities: Drawing from diversity to promote social cohesion“.   The summary of this article is, “Racism in Europe is an ongoing reality that shapes many people’s everyday lives. Diversity is often perceived as a barrier to social cohesion or educational success. These discourses are very often translated into measures that tend to assimilate or segregate those with a migrant or minority background. In this article, drawing from the results of the INCLUD‐ED project, it is argued that through the implementation of successful actions diversity can be turned into an opportunity to enhance learning and social cohesion.”  I was disappointed to find that this was a study focused on Europe, but it is relevant because it proves that there are different definitions of diversity out there roaming around; I just have to find the ones pertaining to the United States.   This source is the only source that I have encountered so far decoding diversity.  This breathes a little more hope into my soul that I can find other resources for my interests.

Overall, this concept archaeology was not very helpful in terms of reading detail because I could not even access a preview of most of the sources.  It was helpful in getting acquainted with researches in this particular field of research in education development and social constructs relations. Maybe I am not looking in the right places, but I will seek help sooner rather than later.


One thought on “Concept Archaeology: The Proof is [Not] Out There

  1. I appreciate your persistence, and I thank you for stepping up in class and letting us use your example in class to talk about tracking down sources. Do you think you have a better sense how to find them, now? And about how else you might track down the evolution of the idea of diversity?


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