07 SES 03 B, (Emergent) Pedagogues' Views and Habits on Social Justice
The aim for the paper is to shed light on situations and processes where teachers move from positions as loyal civil servants to political subjects working for political change. It presents how teachers break in into the fabric of the nation, making it possible to imagine new forms of citizenship and belonging.
The paper is informed by Biesta’s (2006, 2010) notion of political subjectification, and the notion of political subjectivity (Reimers and Martinsson 2017). In order to explore emergences of political subjectivity, we draw on Mouffe’s conception of the political (Mouffe 2005, 2013), as well as Biesta’s (2006, 2010) explorations of relations between education, citizenship, and democracy. Political subjectivity is understood as taking action in order to bring about political changes. It is a subjectivity that emerges in situation with concurring norms and contradictory interpellations where it becomes obvious that it is possible to understand society as well as oneself in multiple and contrary ways (Mouffe 2013).
The paper explore how Swedish teachers began to act against official policies, but on behalf of the interests of their students. The background is changes in Swedish immigration and refugee politics from 2015 and onwards. In the beginning of fall 2015, 150 000 refugees arrived to Sweden. Subsequently, border control was introduced and refugees with no or unclear papers were stopped. During 2016, new policies were developed specifically targeting unaccompanied refugee children, making it possible to deport them when they turned, or were assessed to be over 18. Moving the children from their temporary homes and schools instigated anger and uproar among many teachers, who mobilized in order to protect the interests of their students. The data for the paper is taken from social and traditional media, and observations and interviews in connection with political manifestations. The focus for the analyses are frictions, between the ethics and assignments connected to the professional role as teacher, and the demands and emotions emerging from the situation and meetings with the refugee students. The position as loyal teachers makes it impossible for teachers to adhere to official policies and prompts them to act in accord with teacher ethics and vocational demands. Thus, they emerge as political subjects obliged to act in the interests of their students.
The paper shows how entanglements of conflicting norms in schools and in the role of the teacher, as well as the contingent aspect of teacher-student relations, can create spaces for emergence of political teacher subjects.
Biesta, G. (2006). Beyond Learning. Democratic Education for a Human Future. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. Biesta, G. (2010). Good Education in an Age of Measurement. Ethics, Politics, Democracy. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. Mouffe, C. (2005). On the Political. London: Routledge. Mouffe, C. (2013). Hegemony and new political subjects. In J. Martin (Ed.) Chantal Mouffe: Hegemony, radical democracy and the political (pp. 45-57). London: Routledge. Reimers, E., Martinsson, L. (2017). Education and Political Subjectivities in Neoliberal Times and Places. London: Routledge.
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