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      Between norms and facts: The Constitutional Court's commitment to pluralism in South Africa's radically heterogeneous public schools

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          Abstract

          The recognition of pluralism constitutes a golden thread that runs through the Constitutional Court's entire oeuvre of work. This 'right to be different' finds its initial footing in Gauteng Education Bill, Prince, and Bhe. Pluralism then inserts itself into our jurisprudence as a grundnorm. The Court affirms this status repeatedly through very different rights in such cases as Fourie, Pillay, Shilubana, Ermelo and Juma Musjid. Pluralism must be understood as a necessary condition for maintaining order in a radically riven heterogeneous society. It's hardly surprising, then, that pluralism plays a similar role in our schools and our still nascent development of an inclusive education policy. Pluralism frames, and circumscribes, the manner in which individual schools may order their admissions policies, curriculum, discipline proceedings and other internal affairs. At the same time, it gives adequate effect to learners' rights and the communal interests within which the school is situated. Pluralism doesn't require us to like one another. Suspicion of members of other groups remains an inextricable part of humanity's DNA. However, we do have to learn to live with one another. The problem of pluralism is not - as Habermas and Judt show - a uniquely South African conundrum. That said, it's universality does not mean we can ignore it's challenges. Our schools remain wonderful places to reshape the manner in which we engage others who appear foreign to us. This article concludes that until our schools take this reshaping qua pluralism seriously, the South African experiment in democracy will remain fragile indeed.

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          Most cited references36

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          The Logic of Collective Action. Public Goods and the Theory of Groups

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            Knowledge in the blood: Confronting race and the apartheid past

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              Between Facts and Norms: Contribution to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Journal
                pelj
                PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad
                PER
                Publication of North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus)
                1727-3781
                2015
                : 18
                : 6
                : 2079-2106
                Article
                S1727-37812015000600003
                10.4314/pelj.v18i6.02
                18085661-52ee-4c98-bca1-0c178fa99d29

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

                History
                Product

                SciELO South Africa

                Self URI (journal page): http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=1727-3781&lng=en
                Categories
                Law

                General law
                Pluralism,Constitutional Democracy,Education,Constitutional Court
                General law
                Pluralism, Constitutional Democracy, Education, Constitutional Court

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