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Unity in diversity? The representation of ethnic diversity in Pakistani textbooks and through teacher and student perspectives

Kousar, R and Brett, P ORCID: 0000-0003-3519-0345 2021 , 'Unity in diversity? The representation of ethnic diversity in Pakistani textbooks and through teacher and student perspectives' , The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, vol. 19, no. 1 , pp. 37-52 , doi:

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Ethnic diversity in Pakistan encompasses linguistic, religious, tribal, and regional differences. This article examinessome of the narratives around ethnic diversity in upper secondary school textbooks, the challenges of providing inclusiveopportunities for diverse groups within Pakistan faced by citizenship educators and learners’ perceptions of therepresentation of ethnic diversity. The article draws on Civics and Pakistan Studies textbooks, focus group interviews withsixteen students and semi-structured interviews with sixteen teachers from eight schools and colleges in Punjab, Pakistan.Both the textbooks and the interviews are analyzed through the lens of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Key messagesabout citizenship from Pakistani textbooks are brought into dialogue with data gathered from interviews with Pakistaniteachers and students to illuminate contrasting perspectives on the representation of Pakistani ethnic diversity. Findingsindicate that the textbooks used in schools represent a view of Pakistan as a homogeneous country united by its distinctiveIslamic foundation and its national language. They also project an image of Pakistan attempting to offer an inclusive embraceto those of other languages and religions within the borders of the Pakistani nation. The article concludes with somereflections on the challenges of developing students’ civic knowledge and understanding about multidimensional identity inPakistan, given the limited and idealized treatment of ethnic diversity in the analyzed texts.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kousar, R and Brett, P
Keywords: citizenship education, textbooks, ethnic diversity, critical discourse analysis
Journal or Publication Title: The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities
Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
ISSN: 2327-0128
DOI / ID Number:
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© Common Ground Research Networks, Rehana Kousar, Peter Brett,

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