Group Membership, Identity in Education and the Social Justice Imperative.
Recent work in the nature of group membership (Gilbert 1986, 1994) and group belief (Schmitt, 1994) has provided a strong case for the integrity of the group over and above that of the individual. Groups entail a joint commitment on the part of the group members and group beliefs are claims that are openly accepted by the group members as beliefs of the group. The nature of group membership has implications for education. For ascriptive groups, group members take on the group identity to the extent that group members assent to group beliefs. In the extant scholarship about ascriptive groups in education, much has been made of the imperative of fair treatment for members of marginalized groups. Imbuing the education discourse with the epithets of social philosophy is instructive and informative. First appealing to the notion of group identity sheds light on the rationality of privileging group beliefs even if they would be considered prejudicial and points the way to engaging members of both marginalized and mainstream groups with rational evaluation of their beliefs. Second the template of social philosophy highlights the moral obligation to take culture into account in providing culturally-relevant curriculum.
Keywords: Group Membership, Identity, Education
Prof Sheron Fraser-Burgess
Assistant Professor, Ball State University