19 SES 14 JS, The Implications Of ‘New Populism’ for Education and Ethnography
Joint Round Table NW 19 and NW 23
In some Anglophone Northern societies, the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump have been described as an anti-establishment revolt by people who object to the consequences of Globalisation and liberal elites deciding for people the values that should be dominant. These revolts emanate from across the political spectrum, across classes and in other parts of the world apart from the North, such as South Africa. They are reacting variously to the ways in which global elites make all major decisions concerning trade, labour employment and accruing of wealth and the way they have been able, with the help of liberal governments, to ensure there is a supply of cheap labour to maintain their profits to the detriment of indigenous populations and at the same time ensure low taxes for their corporations by threatening to move their centres abroad to low income countries. At the same time a cultural elite is accused of driving forward human rights policies with little engagement of working people and communities.
One consequence of these actions has been a tendency to revert to nationalist rhetoric and a desire to reinstitute nationalist government, heavily supported by right wing groups and we can see ‘Populist’ leaders taking more and more autocratic powers with the support of ‘the people’.
Education, particularly in the North is charged with needing to convey the values for the next generation society, while contradictorily, it has become increasingly instrumentalised towards the values of the neoliberal economic establishment. Ethnography also has a large part to play, for at its core is a methodology that focuses on re-presenting the values, experiences, tensions and dilemmas of people within education. Part of the response to the Populist upsurge has been a call to listen to those who feel disenfranchised, ‘forgotten and left behind’, and to represent them more fully in terms of policies and moreover to re-engage their political perspectives and actions at the heart of political decision making.
Again, ethnography has a lot to offer all educational research to unpack and re-present the lived realities of people in education and those related to it indirectly.
This roundtable will listen to speakers from different European countries and beyond concerning the effects of these political developments on their particular constituencies and discuss how we can increase the use of ethnography in educational research to better respond to these new global complexities.
This Populism Roundtable will commence with an overall theoretical perspective of the nature of Populism (Maeder - Switzerland) followed by eight contributions focusing on three areas.
The first area outlines some empirical aspects of the current situation in terms of Populism, firstly in a white working class in a rural community in the North East of England (Bagley-UK), details of how a small region in Italy has legislated to provide a local dialect of language teaching of Italy to celebrate a specific cultural identity (Gobbo-Italy), a text examining a ‘Populist’ mantra to delegitimise gender equalities and LGBT rights in Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic (Jarkovská – The Czech Republic) and finally a comparison of two different forms of Populism, the first, a transformation agenda in the South Africa Student Movement and by contrast a nationalistic populism from Scotland in terms of independence aligning with neo-liberal governance (Swanson – South Africa and Scotland).
The second area focuses on system perspectives with a paper on the hidden influence of social media elites (Page-UK) and the third area comprises of two suggestions for ethnographic research, on Elites (Sancho-Gil-Spain) and ‘with’ socially marginalised groups (Dennis-USA).
Go to http://www.ethnographyandeducation.org/ to download details of contributors presentations.
'Us v Them: the birth of populism', John B Judis Guardian Newspapers 13 October 2016 'It’s not just Trump. Authoritarian populism is rising across the West. Here’s why'. Pippa Norris, Washington Post March 11 2016 'What do the new, right-wing populists mean for our future?' New Statesman John Harris 12 Dec 2016 'New Times: Gary Gerstle on Corbyn, Sanders and the populist surge' Gary Cerstle New Statesman, 22 Sept. 2016
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