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Title: Emancipation, education and the working class : genealogies of resistance in Socialist Sunday Schools and Black Saturday schools
Author: Gerrard, Jessica
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
This doctoral project considers the conceptual and practical articulation of emancipation through examination of two temporally, culturally and politically distinct working-class community-led children's school movements in Britain. Attesting to a different history of working-class relationships to education than that offered in long-held dominant gendered and raced discourses of working-class inactivity and deficiency, examination of the Socialist Sunday School (SSS) and Black Saturday (BSS) movements has offered a significant opportunity to explore the genealogy of radical working-class education. Challenging the contemporaneous dominant tropes of 'empowerment', SSSs and BSSs rearticulated the existing emancipatory intent found in their respective radical political fields (socialist and Black) in the formation of children's educational cultures. In depth analysis of these two movements, and comparison across them, has provided the opportunity to discover similarity and difference in complex cultural processes ofeducational resistance in very different working-class communities. Mobilising methodological praxis, this project places the notions of class and emancipation at the centre of the research itself. Thus, following the literature review and the explication of the methodology, this dissertation turns to a theoretical examination of the notions of class and emancipatory education in order to develop these concepts for the research, and at the same time open them to further investigation in the historical cases. Attending to the unsettling of class by poststructuralist excursions, a conception of class is developed embedded in the Gramscian concept of hegemony, with attention to class' constitutive diversity and fragmentation, and its interaction with other oppressions. Exploring the public and common enterprise of education, this discussion also considers emancipatory education as a public space through an examination of Nancy Fraser's notion of 'counterpublics'. Following this, the dissertation explores the inception and periods of growth of the SSS and BSS movements in turn (1892-1930 & 1968-1990 respectively). Drawing on oral history testimony, school records, minute books, personal correspondence, and national and local press, this project develops understanding of the ways in which these school movements understood and expressed their purpose. Giving due attention to their surrounding social and political contexts, the ways in which these schools created childhood educational cultures, developed curriculum and pedagogies, connected with their broader radical fields, and interacted with the wider public sphere - including the State and mainstream education, is explored. Here complex (gendered and 'raced') expression and understanding of both class and emancipation is found within the diverse voices of the teachers and students of these highly localised school movements. Finally, returning to the conceptual frames with which this research began, this dissertation compares and contrasts across these cases to explore the differences and similarities intheir development of educational cultures of resistance. Borrowing from the knowledge traditions of their respective communities, proving capability of existing dominant knowledge, and creating hope for a different future, the SSS and BSS experience reveals complexity and ambiguity in their relationships to their radical political milieus and mainstream educational institutions, and within the educational counterpublics themselves.
Supervisor: Gardner, Phil ; Reay, Diane Sponsor: Cambridge Commonwealth Trusts ; Poynton Australia Scholarship ; Cambridge Overseas Trusts
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.541873  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Class ; Gender ; Race ; Social movements ; Critical education ; Social history ; Emancipation
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