Conference Papers

When rights are not enough: what is?- The need for ‘politicised’ compassion in the quest for social justice.

This seminar addresses and aims to unpack ideas around ’politicised compassion’. In particular, Suanne calls for the need to move on from worn out ineffective forms of ’Widening Participation’ practices, which serve to re-produce outsiders and established insiders. Connecting to concerns and questions raised by right wing swing and growth in the West, aka Trump-Ville, BREXIT and the Grammar School debate, Suanne aims to consider the ’where next’ in terms of democratic, inclusive and socially just education and society.
We are living in an era some have badged a victim of populism, others the inevitable result of neoliberalism’s journey. The gap between the poor and the rich is bigger than ever before, the answer in Tory government speak: ’more grammar schools’. Disaffection grips the many, mental health needs grow, the already oppressed and silenced become dispossessed. Where once solace could be found in a seemingly democratic system, where the focus was on stabilising and securing equality through legislation and ‘rights’, that focus for many is now adrift.
This politicised paper argues for educators to take an active response to the dehumanising and selfish politics that have emerged in Western Societies in recent years. These policies invariably seek to undermine the democratic aims and processes of education, threatening to replace its egalitarian basis with neoliberal performative goals shaped from capitalist agendas. Drawing on her research in this field, she will invite you to consider her work alongside your own and ideally to work together unpacking ‘politicised compassion’ as a possible tool in ‘re-connecting’ political educators and considering how we might in response to this right wing era move forward in our thinking plus practices.

Gibson, S. (2017) 'When rights are not enough: what is?- The need for ‘politicised’ compassion in the quest for social justice.', paper presented to The 13th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 29–30 June, viewed 19 January 2020, <https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=7457>