25 SES 13, Beyond Advocacy and Evaluation: New Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches for Analyzing Rights-Based Participatory Pedagogies and Practices
This paper argues that participatory pedagogies constitute a way of ‘doing’ education differently by problematising existing practices. It draws on accounts of the ‘pedagogic’, post-welfare state and Foucauldian technologies of education (Barnett et al. 2011; Hunter 1994; Pykett 2010) to discuss the English creative learning organisation Creative Partnerships (2002 – 2011), which explicitly espoused youth rights and voice in its programmes (Bragg et al. 2009; Bragg and Manchester 2011). Conceiving youth voice as enacted rather than accessed, within and through specific sites and practices, and in terms of the multiple, overlapping subjectivities, capacities and narratives it constructs, we trace how concepts of voice and participation circulate and signify across different domains (within Creative Partnerships as an organization, within schools and amongst young people); we explore the processes and practices through which it is enacted in different contexts; and we reflect on the subjects who are ‘summoned’ by it, including how children and young people are imagined, understood, addressed and positioned. Our aim is to produce a more nuanced account of participatory approaches, acknowledging their dilemmas as well as their achievements, and observing that they reconfigure power relations in sometimes unexpected, and sometimes all-too-familiar, ways.
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