19 SES 07, Making Inequality: Ontologies of research into pedagogy in high poverty contexts
The presentation will delve beneath the ‘challenging’ behaviour that is manifest in schools, by some children and young people who live with poverty. Challenging behaviour is often a signal that a young person has reached the limits of what she or he can bear. We draw from the Young People and Place research that used multi sensorial, ethnographic and arts-based methods to understand the lives of young people (aged 13-14) living in post-industrial communities in south Wales, with high levels of unemployment. We interviewed 60 young people and undertook participative arts-based activities in and out of school. These methods revealed, for example, struggles to get away from an abusive, violent or alcoholic parent and to deal with multiple deaths and suicides of close family members. Mazzoli et al. (2016) reveals the everyday, small yet hurtful rituals of school life that expose poor young people as an ‘under-caste’. They are made to stand out, for example, for not having the right uniform or sports kit or turning up without a pen. They often have to perform a double role in school; to hide the consequences of household financial limitations that may lead them to be judged while trying to fit into a school cultural that values individual autonomy, self confidence and examination performability. These lived tensions entail schizoid subjectivities (Guattari, 2006) that require effort to maintain and which can spilt apart when the pressure becomes too great. Rethinking poverty requires theoretical and methodological shifts that recognises these lived tensions. Drawing on new material feministism(s) we think about ecologies of encounter to recognise more than individual agency and the plurality of interrelationality. These onto-epistemologies (Barad, 2007) focus on the processes of living and worlding (Manning, 2013) that enable us to think about how existential poverty is created through and by schools and community milieus. Accordingly, poverty is created and recreated through a myriad of social, historical and well as material and corporeal forces that dynamically create and pattern milieus. We can imagine young people as territorialised, or being filled up, with the legacies of post-industrial life that cannot be articulated. Affective intensity acts through the body, in ways that cannot be contained. It draws attention to the undetectable longings and yearnings: screams of the body, evoked in time and place.
Barad, K. M. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham: Duke University Press. Guatarri, F. (1995) Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, [trans. Paul Baines], Power Publications, Sydney:Australia. Manning, E. (2013) Always More Than One: Individuation's Dance, Duke University Press. Durham and London. Mazzoili Smith, L. and Todd, L (2016) Poverty Proofing the School Day: Evaluation and Development Report.
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