This paper examines the role of hybridity in culture as it relates to art education. Curriculum strategies in art education are based essentially on pluralist premises. Such strategies recognize diversity, honor differences, and try to redress the inequitable Eurocentric models of the past. Nevertheless, even in their most critical forms they reproduce a scheme of culture that subtly confirms the established order of Modern hierarchies, and fail to capture the fluid, hybrid, and uneven character of culture. Margaret Archer's theories of culture, society, and change are among the most insightful to date. Taking them on board will ensure that our curricula be grounded in more realistic concepts of culture and agency, from which art educators can build truly equitable curricula that recognize the implication of identities in each other. The first part of this paper looks at the kind of ideas about culture that form the basis of discourse in art education about multiculturalism. I assert that in art education cultural theory is encumbered by its reliance on concepts that capture the plural aggregate nature of culture, and by a failure to incorporate effectively the hybrid character of culture into their theories. As a result art education copes inadequately with culture's paradoxical nature. Cultures can be distinguished, but on closer inspection, what looks like an organic compound reveals itself to be a mixture of differences. The second part proposes that Margaret Archer's theory of culture and her method of accounting for cultural change, are better and sounder premises for reflecting on culture, and creating curricula that cope equitably with issues of diversity, and with rapid or slow cultural change. In the third section of the paper I, so to speak, put flesh on the bones of Archer's theory by exploring historical examples that elucidate her ideas. The examples also illustrate how inequitable hierarchies of discrimination, albeit in subtle-but for that reason more intransigent-forms are perpetuated.


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