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Children's Welfare in Multicultural Societies: A Case study of the Norwegian Rom people's Resistance towards Education
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Norwegian Rom community (Gypsies) leads a life outside large society. Most of the members are illiterate and poor and they are dependent on social security. Moreover, the Rom children are not going to school because education is not a part of the Rom culture. This situation raises various ethical dilemmas regarding cultural rights and obligations. In this thesis the author asks which of the conflicting rights should weigh most: The parent’s right to bring up their children in accordance with their own culture and beliefs, or the child’s right to education? The author’s argument is structured around two main problem areas. First, what is it with education that is good for all people? The short answer to this question is that education is important for functioning in society. Knowledge provides for a wider range of opportunities, and how to use this knowledge is up to each person. The other problem area is the limits of cultural toleration in liberal societies. Here, the author argues that although the right to culture is important, liberalism cannot accommodate illiberal practices. Childrearing that restricts the child’s access to the world outside its original community is one example of intolerable practices. In order to get the Rom children in to school, dialogue is the preferable way to go. However, if the establishment of dialogue is impossible because of fundamentalist or non-dialogical attitudes, an alternative argument is provided: Discursive paternalism is a compulsion to argue on contested norms. This compulsion reconciles individual freedom (autonomy) and paternalism, and can therefore be justified by liberals. Main references are Will Kymlicka, Martha Nussbaum, Chandran Kukathas, Adeno Addis and May Thorseth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Centrum för tillämpad etik , 2006. , 55 p.
Keyword [en]
Multiculturalism, cultural rights, children's rights, liberalism, toleration, paternalism
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7843ISRN: LIU-CTE-AE-EX--06/14--SEOAI: diva2:22781
Subject / course
Master in Applied Ethics
2006-06-15, , Key, LiU, 00:00
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2006-12-07 Created: 2006-12-07 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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