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Within the context of philosophy, a significant literature has accumulated that characterises the ostensible goals of education in socio-political terms. Much of this discussion has certainly centred on the work of political philosophers such as, John Rawls, whose commitment to liberalism has been translated educationally into a rich and varied discourse about the role played by schools in producing ‘good citizens’. Given the multicultural societies in which many of us now live, the question naturally arises as to exactly how tolerant a liberal society and the schools that express its values can be, not only in encouraging but in sustaining cultural and religious perspectives that directly or indirectly collide. Our aim in this chapter is to suggest that the debates that have arisen out of this context can be better understood, and made more amenable to resolution, when the covert values that shape and inform the more comprehensive educational epistemology of our schools are made explicit. When such values are made explicit, it will become clearer that the hope of authentic tolerance in a multicultural society cannot be achieved, if the very concept of knowledge that dominates the curriculum of our schools is driven at a deeper level by the preoccupation we have as a putatively ‘liberal culture’ with power. We shall argue here that power is, in its own right, a defining condition of social identity whose importance has not been sufficiently acknowledged within the current debate on multiculturalism and socio-religious tolerance. We shall now turn directly to the task we have set for ourselves.

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