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Forgotten Places

Critical Studies in Rural Education


Edited By William M. Reynolds

Forgotten Places: Critical Studies in Rural Education critically investigates and informs the construction of the rural, rural identity and the understanding of the rural internationally. This book promotes and expands the notion of critical understandings of rural education, particularly in the areas of race, class, gender, and LGBTQ, with conceptualizations of social justice. While there have been many volumes written on critical issues in urban education, only a small number have been produced on rural education, and the majority of those are not critical. By contrast, Forgotten Places not only discusses "schools in the country," but also expands conceptualizations of the rural beyond schools and place as well as beyond the borders of the United States. It also tackles the artificial duality between conceptualizations of urban and rural. Forgotten Places includes scholarly investigations into the connections among the symbolic order, various forms of cultural artifacts and multiple readings of these artifacts within the context of critical/transformational pedagogy. This book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of the rural.

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Chapter Fifteen: Rural in a Different Caye: Listening to Early School Leavers About the Importance of Place (Bevin Etheridge)


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Rural IN A Different Caye

Listening to Early School Leavers About the Importance of Place


Educational research in small, “developing” nation-states is primarily driven by the neoliberal imperatives of international development agencies that require both measurable outcomes and favor quantitative research. With equity and access as primary goals, the focus of most research is limited to assessing whether poorer populations and rural communities are participating in the educational system and “catching up” academically. Although over half of Belize’s population live in rural areas (World Bank, 2015), research agendas are similar to metropolitan-based scholarship elsewhere which often ignores the relationship of specific rural places to education (Howley & Howley, 2014). While equity and access are both justifiable and worthwhile goals for education everywhere, educational research and policy, albeit sometimes unintentionally, can result in silencing the people whom schools serve and rendering the places in which schools exist invisible.

Following Lefebvre (1991), I consider place not simply as a geographic location, but also as a socially produced space in which social inequalities are embedded, reproduced, and contested through everyday practices. In my research with early school leavers1 concerning their perspectives on school, its purposes, and their reasons for leaving it, place emerged in different and unexpected guises. Although the primary focus was on what early school leavers had to say, this was situated in the wider historical, sociocultural, and economic context in order...

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