1st Edition

Political Correctness and Higher Education British and American Perspectives

By John Lea Copyright 2009
    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    292 Pages
    by Routledge

    • How many times have you heard the phrase: `it’s all political correctness gone mad!’
    • Do you ever wonder whether colleges and universities are really awash with trivial concerns about the use of language or whether they are actually trying to address serious concerns about discrimination and harassment?
    • Have you ever wanted to get to the bottom of what all the fuss is about?

    This book is the first major study of political correctness in post compulsory education to be published in the UK. For readers in the UK unfamiliar with the nature of the controversies in US college campuses this book offers a comprehensive assessment of the key themes, including who and what was behind key campaigns. For readers in the US unfamiliar with how this cultural export has faired in the UK this book looks at the significant similarities and differences in the ways that the phrase has been used in both societies.

    Apart from addressing the roots of political correctness the book seeks to show how the phrase has helped to complicate the traditional boundaries between those on the political Left and those on the political Right. The book also demonstrates in clear terms how the phrase is integral to understanding key themes in cultural theory, such as postmodernism and identity politics.

    This book is intended to be of interest to a number of readers:

    • Teachers working in colleges and universities;
    • Teacher educators and student teachers working on programmes of initial teacher education;
    • Students studying undergraduate programmes in comparative politics and/or sociology and cultural studies

    Finally, the book will seek to capture the reflections of prominent academics and educationalists bon both sides of the Atlantic, who have worked in environments where the phrase has impinged on aspects of their work over the last twenty five years.

    If you think that `political correctness’ simply amounts to what jokes you are allowed to tell in a classroom, hopefully this book will challenge you to think again.



    Foreword: by Jonathan Zimmerman

    Chapter One:

    PC World:

    Political Correctness and the Modern Zeitgeist

    Chapter Two:

    Loose Canons and Straw men of the Apocalypse:

    The Conservative Campaign Against PC in the US

    Chapter Three:

    Look Right and Left before proceeding:

    The political contours PC debate in the US

    Chapter Four

    Water buffaloes in Pennsylvania:

    Closing Free Speech

    Chapter Five

    The End of Civilisation in California:

    Illiberal Multiculturalism

    Chapter Six

    A Day at the Races in Michigan:

    The Victims of Reverse Discrimination

    Chapter 7

    Talking about Political correctness: American conversations about political correctness and higher education

    Chapter 8

    Green sheep in London:

    The Loony Left and British PC

    Chapter 9

    PC and the Panopticon Principle:

    Quangos, Surveillance, and Scripted Communication in the Academy

    Chapter 10

    PC and the Attenuated Academy:

    Social Engineering, widening participation, and professional allegiance

    Chapter 11

    Talking about political correctness: British conversations about political correctness and post-16 education


    Chapter 12


    PC as Oxymoron




    John Lea