07 SES 06 B, Intercultural Education in School Practice
This paper presents an introduction to a study I carried out over a three-year period in two Irish secondary schools into identity construction and young people (O’ Grady, 2012). I draw on textual material from that work (vignettes of conversation and creative artefacts) and some of my reading and reflections, to underscore the theme of ethnicity and the need to make it visible in the construction of a white identity. Fromm (1976) argues that the rise of capitalism and industrialism in the west strengthened what he calls the colonizing ‘ego’; silencing the voices of those it marginalized thereby constructing ‘otherness’ as an abject category. White as a hegemonic identity is unmarked and naturalised and constitutes itself by constructing a margin. According to Davies et al (2006) patterns of power and powerlessness inherent in dualisms like white/black are embedded in approved dominant discourses hence their creation and maintenance are invisible and intractable. Making visible their discursive threads softens the boundary between black/white and loosens the binary thinking and talking that supports it.
The disruption of old cultural patterns necessitates first an awareness of those patterns, a making visible of something previously unnoticed by the person, something that they are living and which continues to be given life through them. A central aim in facilitating these workshops and in conducting the study was to assist the young people in creatively playing with their positioning within those stories/images and in re-positioning themselves in relation to coercive discourses/social structures.
These aims are congruent with the emancipatory intent of Narrative Arts-Based Inquiry (Finley, 2005) and what McLaren (2003) and Denzin (2005) respectively call ‘Revolutionary Pedagogy’ and ‘Critical Performative’ praxis. Denzin writes that we are at a point in time when performative ethnography must be enacted as critical social practice to “confront race relations and inequalities in the globalised, capitalist, democratic system” (ibid, pg.688). The readings that provide the conceptual frame for this paper are some of the post-colonial work of Watkins (2002b), (2002c), (2005a), Fromm (1976) and the feminist writings of Irigaray (2002) and Butler (2004).
Denzin, N.K., & Lincoln, Y.S. (2005) The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. (3rd Edition), London: Sage. Finley, S. (2005) “Arts-Based Inquiry performing Revolutionary Pedagogy” in K. Denzin and Y.S Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications. Fromm, E. (1976) To Have Or To Be. NY: Contimuum Books. Irigaray L. ( 2002 ) Between East and West: From singularity to community (S. Pluhacek Trans), New York:Columbia University Press. Kiesling, S.F (2006) ‘Hegemonic identity making in narrative’ in A. de Fina, D. Schiffrin and M. Bamberg (Eds.), Discourse and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McLaren, P. (2003) Towards a critical revolutionary pedagogy: An interview with Peter McLaren by Michael Pozo (Ed.), St John’s University Humanities Review; 2 (1). O’ Grady, G (2012) Constructing Identities with Young People using Creative Rhizomatic Narrative. Queen’s University Belfast: PhD Watkins, M. (2000) “Depth psychology and the liberation of being” in R. Brooke (Ed.) Pathways into the Jungian World: Phenomenology and Analytical Psychology. London: Routledge. Watkins, M., & Shulman Lorenz, H. (2002a) “Individuation, Seeing-through and Liberation: Depth Psychology and Colonialism.” http:www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins2B.html. Last accessed February.06. Watkins, M., & Shulman, Lorenz, H. (2002b) “Silenced Knowings, Forgotten Springs: Paths to Healing in the Wake of Colonialism.” http:www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins2B.html. Last accessed February.06 Watkins, M. (2002c) Seeding Liberation: “A Dialogue Between Depth Psychology and Liberation Psychology” in D. Slattery & L. Corbett (Eds.), Depth Psychology: Meditations in the Field. Einsiedeln:SW.
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