Derrida's ethics of affirmation: The challenge of educational rights and responsibility

Denise Egéa-Kuehne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)


In the last part of the twentieth century, the proliferation of media and technology would not let us ignore the unprecedented increase in the violence and frequency of "economic wars, national wars, wars among minorities, the unleashing of racisms and xenophobias, ethnic conflicts, conflicts of culture and religion... tearing apart so-called democratic Europe and the world today" (Derrida 1994: 80).1 The possibility of freedom, the promise of freedom for everyone in this new millennium, appears to be a tremendous challenge in countries where many diverse ethnic and racial groups live side by side, and where more or less violent animosity and distrust are fostered by the "gulf separating these ethnic or racial minorities [from one another and] from the mainstream native population" (Shafer 1995: 3). In most cases the responsibility to overcome prejudice, racism, and ethnocentrism has been assigned to education, and schools have been expected to work toward the removal of barriers and boundaries (Grant 1995).2 Yet how is it possible for education to respond to the dilemma of respecting, on the one hand, differences, idioms, minorities, and singularities and at one and the same time, on the other hand, the "universality of formal law, the desire for translation, agreement and univocity, the law of the majority, opposition to racism, nationalism, and xenophobia" (Derrida 1992: 78)? What part does and can education play in responding to the promise made by UNICEF (1999) of the "human right to a quality education?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDerrida and Education
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)0203996003, 9781134601769
ISBN (Print)0415218136, 9780415684125
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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