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Unsettling the Gap

Race, Politics and Indigenous Education

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Sophie Rudolph

Unsettling the Gap: Race, Politics and Indigenous Education examines pressing issues of inequality in education. The notion of gap—and the need to close it—is used widely in public and policy debates to name the nature and scope of disadvantage. In the competitive world of education, gaps have become associated with students who are seen to be "falling behind," "failing" or "dropping out." A global deficit discourse is, therefore, mobilised and normalised. But this discourse has a history and is deeply political. Unsettling the Gap examines this history and how it is politically activated through an analysis of the "Australian Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage" policy. In this policy discourse the notion of gap serves as a complex and multiple signifier, attached to individuals, communities and to national history.

In unravelling these diverse modalities of gap, the text illuminates the types of ruling binaries that tend to direct dynamics of power and knowledge in a settler colonial context. This reveals not only the features of the crisis of "Indigenous educational disadvantage" that the policy seeks to address, but the undercurrents of a different type of crisis, namely the authority of the settler colonial state. By unsettling the normalised functions of gap discourse the book urges critical reflections on the problem of settler colonial authority and how it constrains the possibilities of Indigenous educational justice.

List of Images – Abbreviations and Terminology – Acknowledgements – A Future with No More Gaps? – Racing the Gap: Concepts of Race in the (Settler) Colonial World – Questions of Time – Standing on the Bridge: Critical Encounters with Ethics and Power – Tracing the Gap: Constructions of Deficiency and Potential – Gauging the Gap: Converging Discourses of Measurement and Rank – The Right Side of the Gap: School, Nation, Inclusion, History – Beyond Closing the Gap: Provocations for Thinking Otherwise – Author Biography – Artist Biographies – Index.