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Politics, Participation & Power Relations: Transdisciplinary Reflections Richard C. Mitchell Associate Professor Child and Youth Studies Dept. Brock University,

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Presentation on theme: "Politics, Participation & Power Relations: Transdisciplinary Reflections Richard C. Mitchell Associate Professor Child and Youth Studies Dept. Brock University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Politics, Participation & Power Relations: Transdisciplinary Reflections Richard C. Mitchell Associate Professor Child and Youth Studies Dept. Brock University, ON, Canada University of Edinburgh and International Center for Education for Democratic Citizenship 8 th Annual Conference Presentation, IOE, University of London June, 2014

2 Aims of Presentation Overview of Mitchell & Moore (Eds. 2012; Mitchell, ‘child citizenship’ 2015 chapter) Discuss use of various ‘citizenship’ frameworks informing research, pedagogy, praxis

3 Research/Teaching Standpoint Publishing bottom-up, qualitative CRC implementation projects [solely] since 96 Former frontline child/youth mental health, education, foster care, youth justice doc fellowship at Stirling investigated UNCRC implementation autopoietically within/across local/global educational systems 2004 Brock’s Child and Youth Studies as UNCRC researcher, sociologist of childhood, Freirean critical pedagogue

4 Genesis* for Mitchell & Moore 2012 Brock student initiated 1 st campus-based Free the Children chapter in *Study reviewed by Brock University Research Ethics Board (PI’s Moore/Mitchell )

5 Study: “Young People’s Citizenship: Local, global or imaginary?” ‘What are critical issues for yp as they attempt to exercise rights to participatory citizenship in Canada and beyond?’ Theorised local/global child/youth citizenship opportunities through UNCRC, critical social pedagogy and transdisciplinarity

6 Brock ‘global citizenship’ rally with child rights activist

7 What is critical social pedagogy? Philosophy of education influenced by 20th century Brazilian educator Paulo Freire Education is a political, moral practice providing knowledge, skill, social relations that enable students to explore what it means to be engaged citizens expanding and deepening their participation in the promise of a substantive democracy See H. Giroux (2010, Lessons from Paulo Freire learned-from-paulo-freire-as-education-is-being-taken-over-by- the-mega-rich / learned-from-paulo-freire-as-education-is-being-taken-over-by- the-mega-rich /

8 Giroux & Searls-Giroux (2004:102) argue Educators forced to work within academic disciplines they can develop ‘transdisciplinary tools’ Used to challenge how knowledge is hierarchically produced, to contest economic, political, cultural conditions reproducing inequities in society UNCRC is a TD tool argue Moore & Mitchell, 2012; also 2007a,b; 2011, 2012; Mitchell, 2013

9 What is transdisciplinarity? A global discourse in HE whose aim is transformation linked w/complexity theory, concern with nonlinear relationships and interactive causality, emergent properties of systems Albrecht, Freeman & Higginbotham (1998) say TD is critical, integrative, emergent philosophy underpinning health, social sciences Now women’s/gender studies, climate change, traditional and sustainability sciences adopting TD frameworks TD work is difficult, on the margins, based upon a politics of inclusion, a priori assumption and awareness that academics do not have monopoly on wisdom

10 UNCRC implementation in Canada? Canadian Senate Children: The Silenced Citizens, exhaustive 3-yr international comparative study (2005, 2007) ‘….in theory and in practice, children’s rights in this country are not understood, or indeed provided….’ (2005, Chair’s Forward) No mandatory teaching of UNCRC or citizenship pedagogies = complete lack of knowledge in many regions, ++ egregious violations of treaty

11 Citizenship in Canada? Constrained by racist 1876 ‘Indian Act’ British colonialism, assimilation efforts still reverberating Restricted First Nations, Aboriginal, Inuit and Métis first peoples, their children from trading, land ownership, rights to vote until 1960, and to freely move about South African ‘apartheid’ system modeled on Canadian ‘Indian Reserves’ (Cambre, 2007; Saul, 2010; Mitchell, forthcoming)

12 Rich qualitative dataset Ethnographic methods, GT analytical framework of ‘constant comparison’ of data to data, to legal, policy docs, to literature Included + 2-yr participant observations with campus- and community-based students FTC group preparing for ‘Me to We’ event Campus rally drew 350 elementary-, high school- and university- aged students Key informant interviews w/adult and young people before, during, after, including co-founder C. Kielburger year-old co-authors for research paper (2011, Moore, et al) See Kincheloe & McLaren’s 2005 concept of critical qualitative approach of Bricoleur (Mitchell, 2013 )

13 Who are the Kielburgers? Canada’s Free the Children begins mid-1990s w/ primary students Craig & Marc crusade against exploitative child labourFree the Children Controversial efforts threw s child carpet weavers out of work in Pakistan, Bangladesh Appearances on BBC,CNN, Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes and Today Show, Time and The Economist Craig multiple Nobel Prize nominee Are they global citizens?

14 What is child citizenship? Previously ++ contested commensurate w/ widespread, globalised UNCRC implementation + International empiricism being driven by INGOs Legalistic critiques frequently centred on adultist views of nation-state (Cohen, 2005; Kiwan, 2005; Lawy & Biesta, 2006) Kiwan (2005, critiquing P. Alderson) argues improper to ‘conflate’ UNCRC implementation w/citizenship Dutch-US sociologist Saskia Sassen (2008) identifies emergent ‘global assemblage’ based rights (also Harvard’s S. Pinker, 2011, why violence declining = various rights revolutions)

15 Deep/wide, cross-systemic, trans- national, global discourse Scot researchers Hill & Tisdall (1997: 21) ‘rights, related concept of citizenship, constitute powerful discourses Irish educator Devine (2002: 303) argues school- based citizenship teaching must account for power relations and control issues impacting children’s self-concept as citizens ++Proponents, detractors see Cockburn, (2008); Invernizzi & William (2008); Isin & Turner (2007); Jamieson et al., (2010); Lister (2007); Moosa-Mitha (2005); Pupavac (2008); Roche (2008); Turner (1997); Stasiulis (2002a, b) - also Mitchell (forthcoming)

16 Former Committee on the Rights of the Child Chair Jaap Doek (2008: xvi) Citizenship eludes definition (except in narrow, technical fields of nationality, immigration), is variable, contextual, contested. Closely linked to, but not synonymous with, rights, implicitly confers on children the status of subjects Many associate citizenship w/being national of a State but there is no right to State nationality where you are born Human rights treaties do not contain a “right to a nationality” (let alone to nationality of choice), but UNCRC Art. 7.1 “every child has the right to acquire a nationality”

17 Aussie PhD study (Phillips, 2010) Looking at 5-6yr-old primary students’ “active citizenship” through storytelling, social action she assesses Kielburgers’ work critically Worries that young people from rich countries speaking out for those in poor countries “raises potential neo- colonialist appropriations of third world issues” Notes FTC members “empowered, knowledgeable, compassionate and autonomous” (pp ) Citing C. Kielburger (1998: 75) “struggle against child labour did not ‘begin in the west, but rather with organisations such as CWA (Child Workers of Asia)’ ”

18 Free the Children now in 45 countries Partnering w/ c, yp as ‘agents of global change’ in global north and south, FTC provides comprehensive service learning, active citizenship programmes +Academic criticism, Kielburgers present as social entrepreneurs catapulting We Day events into international children’s rights network opening UK base in London, Call for Chapters quickly yields 10 contributors from 6 nations on 4 continents

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20 Cover Photo from web-based US news outlet Truthout Requested contributors from India, China, Australia, England, Canada, US to use critical pedagogy and transdisciplinary frameworks, Diverse methodologies incl. education of girls in caste system, x3 critical analyses of UNCRC in English teacher ed and studetn CE programmes PhD study from China looking into CCP power and influence on citizenship education in Shenzhen City (near Shanghai) Excerpt from M & M (2012:200)

21 Who is Omar Khadr?

22 Canadian-born child soldier Egregious example of Canada’s ‘silenced citizens’ child soldier shot twice in the back and partially blinded during a 2002 Afghanistan firefight with US marines, who was tortured and languished in the US prison camp in Cuba until being repatriated in 2012 See M. Shephard, 2008, Guantánamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr, John Wiley & Sons, Canada, Ltd. Canadian Supreme Court ordered repatriation, current federal regime refused until after plea bargained ‘murder’ conviction extracted

23 Common TD dimensions (Brown, Harris, and Russell, 2010: ) Neither discipline- nor hypothesis-driven, but problem- driven Holistic, multi-systemic methods, analyses of complex datasets Post-normal science, skepticism that questions disciplinary orthodoxy ala Thomas Kuhn (1970) Indigenous knowledge systems Civil society (NGOs) and marginalised groups as knowledge partners Epistemologically reflexive i.e. one’s values, beliefs, biases influencing research must be accounted for

24 Findings: local/global citizenship model (M & M, 2012: 193)

25 And to conclude Using TD tools - i.e. UNCRC - allows opportunities for child citizenship discursively, through research and application locally/globally within systems in education, mental and physical health, welfare and protection, juvenile justice, etc. Paraphrasing James & Prout (1997: 8) and their ‘sociology of childhood paradigm’, the ‘double hermeneutic of the social sciences’ is ‘acutely present’ in this discourse as well To proclaim ‘child as citizen’ is to both engage in and to reconstruct all expressions of ‘citizenship’ in society’

26 Selected References Albrecht, G., Freeman, S. & Higginbotham, N. (1998). ‘Complexity and human health: The case for a transdisciplinary paradigm’. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 22(1): 55–92. Doek, J. E. (2008). Foreward. In A. Invernizzi, & J. William (Eds.), Children and citizenship (pp. xii-xvii). London, Thousand Oaks, CA, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage Publications, Inc. Giroux, H. A., & Searls Giroux, S. (2004). Take Back Higher Education: Race, youth and the crisis of democracy in the post-civil rights era. New York: PalgraveMacmillan. Kincheloe, J.L. & McLaren, P., ‘Rethinking critical theory and qualitative research’. In The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (3rd ed.) ed. N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2005) 303–342. Mitchell, R.C. & Moore, S.A. (Eds. 2012) Politics, Participation & Power Relations: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Critical Citizenship in the Classroom and Community. Rotterdam, Boston and Taipei: Sense Publishers.Politics, Participation & Power Relations:Transdisciplinary Approaches to Critical Citizenship in the Classroom andCommunity Mitchell, R.C. (2013) ‘Reflections on the UNCRC from a Transdisciplinary Bricoleur’, Special Issue on “The Future of Children’s Rights” in The International Journal of Children’s Rights 21(3): The International Journal of Children’s Rights Mitchell, R.C. (forthcoming) ‘Re-theorising Child Citizenship through Transdisciplinarity: From local to global’, pp in Vandenhole, W., Desmet, E., Reynaert, D. and Lembrechts S. (Eds. 2015) Routledge Handbook on Children's Rights (Studies). London: Routledge Publishers. Moore, S. A. &Mitchell, R. C. (Eds. 2008) Power, Pedagogy and Praxis: Social Justice in the Globalized Classroom. Rotterdam, Boston and Taipei: Sense Publishers. Pratt-Clarke, M. (2012) ‘A Black Woman’s Search for the Transdisciplinary Applied Social Justice Model: Encounters with Critical Race Feminism, Black Feminism, and Africana Studies’. The Journal of Pan African Studies, 5(1): Sassen, S. (2008). Territory, authority, rights: From medieval to global assemblages. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


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