Culture, Politics, and Irish School Dropouts: Constructing Political Identities

Culture, Politics, and Irish School Dropouts: Constructing Political Identities

Culture, Politics, and Irish School Dropouts: Constructing Political Identities

Culture, Politics, and Irish School Dropouts: Constructing Political Identities

Synopsis

This book summarizes structural, reproduction, and resistance theories of education and provides a social research approach to problems of social inequity. It analyzes how these perspectives contribute to the political analysis of the production of early school departures and the consequent disadvantages and poverty. Fagan follows a deconstructive approach to research methodology that presents a text in which real characters and events are brought to life. Dublin working-class kids speak for themselves, tell their stories, and discuss their futures openly. They describe their schooling and their colorful responses to situations that seemed meaningless or demeaning when they were in school. They share their insecurities about the future and their experiences with poverty and unemployment outside the mainstream of middle-class society. As a unique contribution to cultural studies and a rare ethnographic glimpse of Irish urban society, this study establishes a model in educational and sociological research.

Excerpt

One of the central characteristics of radical social theories within the last decade has been a move away from the singularity of class or gender as a defining principle of identity and political struggle. In part, such a theoretical move has opened up the possibility for recognizing the multiple subject positions that constitute any claim to identity. In more specific terms, it has meant recognizing the complex ways in which identities are formed, lived out, and reconstructed. It has also brought about a renewed interest in addressing how domination, accommodation, and resistance works itself out within specific institutional and cultural sites. Similarly, the pluralization of identity has generated a renewed interest in the importance of a discourse of critical agency and a renewed hope in constructing energized social movements based on democratic models of struggle.

It is worth noting that the field of critical education has a distinguished history of remarkable ethnographic studies that explore how student identities are constructed within the often repressive atmosphere of schools. But most of the theoretical work done in this field bears the weight of a historical time in which domination . . .

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