The contemporary debate on diversity and difference in education policies and studies

Tatiane Cosentino Rodrigues Anete Abramowicz About the authors

The article proposed here has as its objective to analyze the way in which the concepts of difference and diversity have been used in the contemporary Brazilian debate on education and in public policies in this area. We have tried to identify the theoretical conditions, the practices and policies that have contributed to the rise of the concept of diversity. Used as a slogan during the first presidential term of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, particularly with respect to education, the theme of diversity has undergone various processes of appropriation within the public policies. In order to study these policies we have employed as primary sources official documents such as: the 2003-2010 Government Assessment; the 2004-2007 Pluriannual Plan; the budget laws of the 2003-2006 period; and the management reports of the federal government. We also show, in a summarized manner, how the debate on difference and diversity has been carried out in education, with the objective of understanding the distinctions between the pedagogical proposals denominated multiculturalism, interculturalism, and cultural pluralism. To this end, we have carried out a survey of articles published in academic journals between 1990 and 2007. The assessment has shown that these actions were concentrated in the Ministries of Culture, Health and, mainly, Education, which reaffirms the centrality of education as a process and of the school as a social institution in the approach and/or mediation of the dilemmas faced by the Brazilian society at the start of this century. In summary, we have made an effort to analyze the various theoretical and practical streams that debate and compete for the concepts of diversity and difference in the area of education.

Educational policy; Diversity and difference; Ethnical-racial relations; Lula government

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