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On Language, Democracy, and Social Justice

Noam Chomsky’s Critical Intervention- Foreword by Peter McLaren- Afterword by Pepi Leistyna


Pierre W. Orelus and Noam Chomsky

Every century has witnessed the birth of a few world-transcending intellectuals as well as talented emerging scholars. Noam Chomsky and Pierre W. Orelus are no exception. Using dialogues exchanged over the course of nine years, combined with heartfelt critical essays, Chomsky and Orelus analytically examine social justice issues, such as unbalanced relationships between dominant and subjugated languages, democratic schooling, neoliberalism, colonization, and the harmful effect of Western globalization on developing countries, particularly on the poor living in those countries. On Language, Democracy, and Social Justice offers a unique perspective on these issues. Educators and scholar-activists interested in challenging the long-standing status quo to inspire transformative social, educational, and political change must read this book.


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4 Democracy and Language Rights of Minority Groups


Democracy and Language Rights of Minority Groups F o u r is democracy possible in a country where minority languages and cultures have been pushed to the margins, where citizens are merely spectators of educational, socioeconomic, and political decision-making processes affecting their lives, and where workers have been grossly exploited? This chapter aims to explore these questions . To this end, I begin by briefly reviewing major tenets of democracy as related to schooling . To further examine these tenets, I use excerpts of a dialogue in which I engaged Noam Chomsky about democracy and schooling . This dia- logue is situated within the contemporary U .S . educational and neoliberal con- text, including the No Child Left Behind legislation . I go on to explore linguistic discrimination of minority students, including bilingual students, and how these students have faced barriers in schools and in society at large . I conclude this chapter by making an appeal for linguistic and cultural pluralism as a sine qua non for living in a participatory form of democracy . Democracy: Whose Definition and Whose Interests Does It Serve? It is important to note upfront that concepts such as economic democracy, eco- logical democracy, and democracy in the social realm, which are important aspects of direct democracy, are beyond the scope of this chapter . Broadly conceived, the concept of democracy has been at the center of many political debates and can be traced back as far as the time of Plato . This concept occupied a central role in Orelus.indd 53 11/12/13...

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