Beyond progressive liberalism and cultural relativism: Towards critical postmodernist, sociohistorically situated perspectives in classroom studies

M. Y. Angel LIN, Ching Man LUK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we propose that classroom studies in the TESOL field tend to subscribe to either of the following two normative orders: (a) progressive liberalism, and (b) cultural relativism, without reflexively recognizing and meta-analysing these normative frameworks and their social, historical, and political situatedness. Drawing on Foucault's (1981) methods of historical excavation, we attempt a critical analysis of the socio-historical situatedness of these modernist normative orders. By building on relational analysis from critical educational studies (Apple, 1999), critical ethnography (Canagarajah, 1993; Chick, 1996; Kumaravadivelu, 1999; Pennycook, 2001), and the theory and method of articulation from cultural studies (Slack, 1996), we propose critical postmodernist, socio-historically situated perspectives in classroom studies and educational research as alternatives that break away from the modernist determinism of reproduction theories on the one hand, and radical postmodernist relativism on the other. We illustrate how such perspectives can contribute to our understanding of classroom practices with two classroom examples from Hong Kong schools, and we attempt to show the potential of these perspectives for contributing to the opening up of possibilities for change. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2002 University of Toronto Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-124
JournalThe Canadian Modern Language Review
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002

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cultural relativism
liberalism
classroom
relativism
determinism
cultural studies
educational research
ethnography
Hong Kong
school

Citation

Lin, A., & Luk, J. (2002). Beyond progressive liberalism and cultural relativism: Towards critical postmodernist, sociohistorically situated perspectives in classroom studies. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 59(1), 97-124.

Keywords

  • English as a second language
  • English language/Teaching/Hong Kong
  • Language and culture
  • Education/Philosophy