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Relational and Responsive Inclusion

Contexts for Becoming and Belonging


Edited By Mere Berryman, Ann Nevin, Suzanne SooHoo and Therese Ford

Socially unjust circumstances continue to perpetuate inadequate classroom, school and system-level responses to longstanding social justice imperatives, shutting out power-sharing solutions to educational disparities and marginalizing populations of Indigenous and minoritized peoples. To address these educational disparities, this book proposes a relational and culturally responsive framework, from within a critical and indigenous paradigm that is designed to foster one’s sense of becoming and belonging in the world with all people, and thus promotes inclusion. Praxis such as this challenges traditional paradigms that marginalize or dehumanize those with whom we seek to work. Social justice in education must be concerned with recognizing, respecting and being inclusive of the diversity of all students. Social justice is about valuing and including all children for the potential they arrive with and for the families that stand beside them, rather than on what we might aspire to change and mold them into being.
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Education has always been about being, becoming and belonging. But shadowing these pregnant gerunds and verbs across time and space have been the questions: Being, becoming and belonging for what purpose and in whose interest? Who are we? What are we becoming? And to whom and to what will we belong? Across the United States and throughout much of the global educational establishment there exists a deep and technocratic undercurrent running beneath the field of teacher education, demonstrably affecting the most significant public spaces where the subjectivities—the being, becoming and belonging—of our citizens are fashioned: our schools. Much of this has to do with what sociologist William Robinson (2015) has described as the rise of transnational state apparatuses and supranational and transnational institutions that have been renovating and restructuring capitalist globalization in the face of the crisis of 20th nation-state capitalism, leaving in their wake disturbing new instantiations of transnational class inequalities, wars on drugs and terrorism, the criminalization of immigrants from the south and a clamping down on social movements formed by fractions of today’s dispossessed humanity, particularly those fueled by youth resisting what Henry Giroux and Brad Evans has called ‘disposable futures” (Giroux and Evans, 2015; Giroux, 2012). The ideological and cultural changes that have accompanied such economic restructuring by the transnational capitalist class have led to new opportunities for capitalists to open up hitherto untapped sites for surplus capital and social control, including our public educational system, worth billions...

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