07 SES 03 A, Intercultural Education
While the main principles of contemporary European education policies promote equity, inclusion, lifelong learning, etc. not only as achievable goals but also as inherent pillars of teacher education, those teachers, who work with the children of the most excluded, exploited and oppressed social groups very often find achieving the aforementioned directives a hopeless enterprise. Especially in those countries, where national education policies explicitly go against European directives, such as the elimination of discrimination and segregation.
In this paper I want to illuminate the structural contradictions schools are facing in the hybrid (neoliberal and neoconservative) climate of Hungary and Poland. The focus of the discussion will be two different hyperghettos, and the two schools which the (mostly Roma) children from the hyperghetto attend. These stigmatized spaces of advanced marginality inhabited by Roma people (whose marginalization has been widening and deepening since the political-economic transitions in both countries) are dense centers of multiple and intersecting points of oppression and a wide range of discourses, which are characteristic to the historical context of post-socialist countries (nationalism, racism, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, chauvinism, ethnicism, etc.). (Brüggemann and D’Arcy, 2016; Emerson, 2006; Horvai, 2010; Walker, 2008)
The hyperghetto, whose only positive cohesive power is its function as an enclave (Molina, Valenzuela-García, García-Macías, Lubbers, & Pampalona, 2013) manages, controls and incarcerates the poor, targeted “first by class, second by race, and third by place” (Wacquant, 2010). These are spaces in the ‘desert’ of suburbs, emplaced behind the brushwood, territories without borders, localizations without address, but also included in the variety of institutional, organizational and legal practices. The Jehovah's Witnesses, the Catholic Church, the police, the press, the Counseling Service, several NGO’s, start-ups and artists, the Amnesty International, the Helsinki Foundation, embassies, and many other organizations and state apparatuses (Althusser, 1971) are present there, without achieving significant change. My aim with this paper is to interpret the schools’ relation to advanced marginality in the context of hybrid (neoliberal and neoconservative) capitalism by understanding poverty as a structural social relation, based on a “broad-gauged study of the political economy rather than a narrow study of the poor” (O’Connor, 2001). This structural approach sheds light on poverty as “a product of the socio economic relations of modernity” (Green, 2006, p. 1117).
 For Wacquant (2007) the hyperghetto is not a ‘place’ any more, like the black American ghetto was until the 1960s, characterized by positive identification, but a ‘space’, which the (sub)proletariat can no longer “mobilize and deploy to shelter themselves from white domination and find collective support for their strategies of mobility.” (Wacquant, 2007, p. 70)
The study is based on critical ethnography, influenced by Marxism, which means that it particularly focuses on social contradictions and its lived forms in order to reveal and enhance the possibility of a revolutionary social transformation. (Maisuria & Beach, 2018) The fieldwork is based on Spindler’s cultural therapy, which he defines as bringing "one’s own culture in its manifold forms to a level of awareness that permits one to perceive it as a potential bias in social interaction and in the acquisition or transmission of skills and knowledge." (Spindler, 1999, p. 466). The different uses of therapy in education clearly showed the importance of collaboration between teachers, researchers, students and other stakeholders, drew attention to the cultural biases and their impact on education, and proposed ways to unravel these processes. (Labatiuk, 2012) Cultural therapy helps us understand the relation of cultural positions by bringing them into active and reflective interaction. This practice becomes therapy, since "immersion in one's own culture in the world we live in is a kind of illness" (Spindler, 1999, p. 466).
Drawing on the ethnographic research I’ve been doing in Hungary and Poland with teachers who work with the children of marginalized Roma families, I want to turn Paulo Freire’s notion of the “pedagogy of hope” (Freire, 1994) upside down, in order to deconstruct “hope” as a common point of departure for almost all (from conservative to emancipatory) pedagogical enterprises. Interpreting Slavoj Žižek’s notion of “the courage of hopelessness” (Žižek, 2017) as a pedagogical category I would like to illuminate how – in the ideological deadlock of the European predicament - the hopelessness of teachers can lay the foundations of a transformative, emancipatory pedagogy: a critical pedagogy without hope, a courageous pedagogy without salvation, since “[t]he true courage is not to imagine an alternative, but to accept the consequences of the fact that there is no clearly discernible alternative: the dream of an alternative is a sign of theoretical cowardice, functioning as a fetish that prevents us from thinking through to the end the deadlock of our predicament.”
Althusser, L. (1971). On the Reproduction of Capitalism: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. London: Verso. Brüggemann, C., & D’Arcy, K. (2016). Contexts that discriminate: international perspectives on the education of Roma students. Race Ethnicity and Education, 3324(July), 1–4. Emerson, M. (2006). Roma Education in Eastern and Central Europe: some personal reflections. European Journal of Intercultural Studies, 10(2), 201–206. Freire, P. (1994). Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London - New York: Continuum. Green, M. (2006). Representing poverty and attacking representations: Perspectives on poverty from social anthropology. Journal of Development Studies, 42(7), 1108–1129. Horvai, A. (2010). Recognising the Roma and their rights: An analysis of exclusion and integration in the education system. Research in Comparative and International Education, 5(4), 394–407. Labatiuk, I. (2012). George Spindler ’ s Concept of Cultural Therapy and its Current Application in Education. Forum Oświatowe, 47(2), 49–60. Maisuria, A., & Beach, D. (2018). Ethnography and Education. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education Ethnography, 2017(December), 1–21. McDonald, C. (1999). Roma in the Romanian Educational System: barriers and leaps of faith. European Journal of Intercultural Studies, 10(2), 183–200. Molina, J. L., Valenzuela-García, H., García-Macías, A., Lubbers, M., & Pampalona, J. (2013). Social capital in ethnic enclaves: Indians in Lloret de Mar and Pakistanis in Barcelona. In Y. Li (Ed.), Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital (pp. 377–398). Edward Elgar Publishers. O’Connor, A. (2001). Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U S History. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Spindler, G. (1999). Three Categories of Cultural Knowledge Useful in Doing Cultural Therapy. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 30(2), 466–472. Wacquant, L. (2007). Territorial Stigmatization in the Age of Advanced Marginality. Thesis Eleven, 91(1), 66–77. Wacquant, L. (2010). Class, race & hyperincarceration in revanchist America. Dædalus, 2010(Summer), 74–90. Walker, G. (2008). Overrepresented Minorities in Special Education in the United States and Romania: Comparison between African-American and Roma Populations in Disability Studies. Research in Comparative and International Education, 3(4), 394–403. Žižek, S. (2017). The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a Year of Acting Dangerously. London: Penguin Books.
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