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Accepted Paper:

Multicultural education in times of crisis, an intervention project in Austria  
Anna Streissler (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

I discuss a project on multicultural education for 12-14 year old pupils in Vienna, Austria (which started in 2008), aiming at empowering pupils through ethnographic research of their own lifeworlds in times of rising xenophobia and within a conservative school system with a "monocultural habitus".

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I discuss work-in-progress on multicultural classrooms in Vienna, Austria, which I started in 2008. Designed as partnership between anthropologists, education specialists and teachers the project is aimed both at empowering pupils aged 12-14 and teaching them about science. After initial training in a "research lab", the pupils are asked to carry out ethnographic research about their own multicultural (Amit-Talai 1995) lifeworlds. I discuss ups and downs of an attempt at innovative intervention into a structurally conservative schoolsystem, which through its "monolingual habitus" (Gogolin 1994) is devaluing and stigmatizing children with migrant backgrounds. This is happening at a time when xenophobia and unemployment are rising. What are the possibilities of intervening in ways that empower the pupils and teach all of them about positive aspects of multiculturalism, while taking on board the teachers and sticking to the ground rules laid down by the schools and other relevant stakeholders?

Panel W093
Lifeworlds of children and youth in times of crisis
  Session 1