Rethinking social justice discourse after poststructuralism

Social Justice Pedagogy Across the Curriculum
Parkes, R. J., Gore, J. M., & Elsworth, W. A. (2010). After poststructuralism: Rethinking the discourse of social justice pedagogy. In T. Chapman & N. Hobbel (Eds.), Social justice pedagogy across the curriculum: The Practice of freedom (pp. 164-183). New York: Routledge.

It is common for poststructural analyses of curriculum and pedagogy to question perceived pedagogical truths as part of a strategy of challenging injustices produced through the institutions, practices and knowledge structures of education. However, poststructuralism itself has often been subject to the criticism that it is incapable of offering anything other than critique, that it fails to provide pedagogical and curricular alternatives or direction for educational reform. In this chapter we explore the implications and inherent contradictions of poststructural analyses for pedagogy in general, and for social justice pedagogy more specifically. Throughout this discussion, we elaborate the efficacy of poststructural analyses in and for social justice education, arguing that poststructural theory can inform a productive rethinking of social justice pedagogy. In its concern with local manifestations of inequality and injustice, we argue that poststructuralism offers new spaces of freedom for the enactment of a social justice agenda in education.

This chapter was described by the editors in their preface as “one of the clearest articulations of post-structuralism that we have encountered” (Chapman & Hobbel, 2010, xiv).

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