Dossier

Ausgabe 10

Staatlich verordnete Scheuklappen

Das universalistisch Prinzip in Schulen von La Réunion

Seite 70
Barbara Waldis

In France, the classic republican conception of citizenship does not provide space for multicultural issues because the ideal republic stipulates encounters of anonymous, equal citizens in public sphere, whilst any form of cultural affiliation is strictly confined to the private sphere. The main question in this text, therefore, is how French teachers of civic education, who should represent the official conception of citizenship, deal with cultural difference in a creolized, post- colonial society. The teachers are well aware of universalistic principles separating public and private, state and church, and distinguish very precisely between their official and their private roles. They use the official discourse on regional languages to speak about cultural differences in the public sphere of the school, but in protected or private spheres they allow themselves statements about multi- cultural society. The French conceptualization of civic and public cultural blindness thus appears respected while the multicultural society in La Réunion is nonetheless acknowledged. This runs parallel to the notion that the creation of the overseas department represents the will to equal participation in the French state while, at the same time, the colonial past has left its unique heritage in language, religion and every day culture on this local society. Such a situation accounts for the fact that, in La Réunion, the republican ideal of universalism cannot completely rule cultural diversity out of the public sphere. From this point of view, French citizenship does include ways of dealing with both universalism and difference.