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The Gold and the Dross

Althusser for Educators

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David I. Backer

In the last decade, there has been an international resurgence of interest in the philosophy of Louis Althusser. New essays, journalism, collections, secondary literature, and even manuscripts by Althusser himself are emerging, speaking in fresh ways to audiences of theorists and activists. Althusser is especially important in educational thought, as he famously claimed that school is the most impactful ideological state apparatus in modern society. This insight inspired a generation of educational researchers, but Althusser’s philosophy—unique in a number of ways, one of which was its emphasis on education—largely lost popularity.

Despite this resurgence of interest, and while Althusser’s philosophy is important for educators and activists to know about, it remains difficult to understand. The Gold and the Dross: Althusser for Educators, with succinct prose and a creative organization, introduces readers to Althusser’s thinking. Intended for those who have never encountered Althusser’s theory before, and even those who are new to philosophy and critical theory in general, the book elaborates the basic tenets of Althusser’s philosophy using examples and personal stories juxtaposed with selected passages of Althusser’s writing. Starting with a beginner’s guide to interpellation and Althusser’s concept of ideology, the book continues by elaborating the epistemology and ontology Althusser produced, and concludes with his concepts of society and science. The Gold and the Dross makes Althusser’s philosophy more available to contemporary audiences of educators and activists.
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Edited by Sue Vella, Ruth Falzon and Andrew Azzopardi

The study of wellbeing is not new. Over two millennia ago, the Ancient Greeks were already debating different conceptions of the good life, and how it may be fostered, albeit a debate for the privileged in ancient Greek society. More recently, the post-WWII concern with economic scarcity gave way – as prosperity rose in the later 20th century – to values such as personal growth and social inclusion. In parallel, research has increasingly turned its focus to wellbeing, going beyond traditional measures of income, wealth and employment. Greater attention is now paid to the subjective experience of wellbeing which, it is broadly agreed, has many dimensions such as life satisfaction, optimal functioning and a good quality of life.

Perspectives on Wellbeing: A Reader brings together a number of chapters that examine wellbeing from different disciplinary perspectives. A number of the chapters take the angle of human flourishing, looking at the respective contributions of belonging, emotional resilience, spirituality, prosocial behaviour, literacy and leisure. Others look at wellbeing through a social relations lens, including family relations, youth, persons with disability and gender. Finally, a chapter on wellbeing and economics illustrates different approaches to measuring wellbeing and identifying its determinants. The book concludes with a chapter that argues for the enduring importance of the welfare state if the wellbeing of all is to be ensured.

This book is likely to be of interest to both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences as well as to a general readership.

Contributors are: Angela Abela, Andrew Azzopardi, Paul Bartolo, Marie Briguglio, Amy Camilleri Zahra, Joanne Cassar, Marilyn Clark, Ruth Falzon, Vickie Gauci, Ingrid Grech Lanfranco, Natalie Kenely, Mary Anne Lauri, Marceline Naudi, Claudia Psaila, Clarissa Sammut Scerri, Sandra Scicluna Calleja, Barbara Stelmaszek, Sue Vella, and Val Williams.
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Edited by Peter Charles Taylor and Bal Chandra Luitel

In a rapidly globalizing world, the pressing challenge for science and mathematics educators is to develop their transdisciplinary capabilities for countering the neo-colonial hegemony of the Western modern worldview that has been embedded historically, like a Trojan Horse, in the international education export industry. Research as Transformative Learning for Sustainable Futures introduces the world to next-generation multi-worldview research that empowers prospective educational leaders with a vision and voice for designing 21st century educational policies and practices that foster sustainable development of the diverse cultural capital of their multicultural societies. At the heart of this research are the principles of equity, inclusiveness and social justice.

The book starts with accounts of the editors' extensive experience of engaging culturally diverse educators in postgraduate research as transformative learning. A unique aspect of their work is combining Eastern and Western wisdom traditions. In turn, the chapter authors – teacher educators from universities across Asia, Southern Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific – share their experience of research that transformed their philosophies of professional practice. They illustrate the following aspects of their engagement in research as transformative learning for sustainable futures: excavating auto|ethnographically their lifeworld experiences of learning and teaching; developing empowering scholarly perspectives for analysing critically and reflexively the complex cultural framings of their professional practices; re-visioning their cultural and professional identities; articulating transformative philosophies of professional practice; and enacting transformative agency on return to their educational institutions.

Contributors are: Naif Alsulami, Shashidhar Belbase, Nalini Chitanand, Alberto Felisberto Cupane, Suresh Gautam, Bal Chandra Luitel, Neni Mariana, Milton Norman Medina, Doris Pilirani Mtemang'ombe, Emilia Afonso Nhalevilo, Hisashi Otsuji, Binod Prasad Pant, Sadruddin Qutoshi, Yuli Rahmawati, Indra Mani Rai (Yamphu), Siti Shamsiah Sani, Indra Mani Shrestha, Mangaratua Simanjorang, and Peter Charles Taylor.
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Tina Besley and Michael A. Peters

Teaching, Responsibility, and the Corruption of Youth explores the concept and practice of responsibility in education and teaching in the new post-Cold War era after the long run of globalization and liberal internationalism has been disrupted by the rise of populism, anti-immigration sentiments and new forms of terrorism. The old liberal values and forms of tolerance have been questioned. Responsibility is a complex concept in our lives with moral, social, financial and political aspects. It embraces both legal and moral forms, and refers to the state of being accountable or answerable for one’s actions implying a sense of obligation associated with being in a position of authority such as a parent, teacher or guardian having authority over children. First used with schools in 1855, the concept's legal meaning was only tested in the 1960s when student conduct, especially when materially affecting the rights of other students, was not considered immune by constitutional guarantees of freedom.

This volume investigates the questions left with us today: What does responsibility mean in the present era? Does loco parentis still hold? What of the rights of students? In what does teacher responsibility consist? Can student autonomy be reconciled with market accountability? To what extent can responsibility of or for students be linked to ‘care of the self’ and ‘care for others’? And, most importantly, to what extent, if any, can teachers be held accountable for the actions of their students?
Open Access

Marianna Liosi

This article is a reflective text by an art curator interested in exploring the boundaries between video activism, spectatorship, and pedagogy. It proposes new ways of critically understanding the terms “activist,” “participation,” and “militancy” in the context of an expanded notion of the image and the role of the spectator. Emerging from field notes, the article narrates and shares the experiences of engaging students at workshops for “Between Broadcast – a project around activist videos,” held at at fine art academies and universities in Leipzig, Düsseldorf, and Bergamo. The practical aim of the workshops was to introduce and engage students with the subject of so-called activist video clips on YouTube. The students were asked to find, select, and discuss militant videos and, subsequently, to create a montage from them. The conceptual aim of the workshop was to reflect upon video spectatorship online and what that means, the agency of the spectator, and the possibilities of their active participation in the process of viewing. The outcomes of the workshops were the development of critical thinking of the students concerning the subjects of online video, digital empathy, their engagement with videos as individual viewers and as a collective, and the power of montage as a narrative and activist tool.

Open Access

Lea Sonza

This article provides a critical reflection on, and some key examples of Native American media activism, in particular film and video making. The aim of the article is to discuss the reasons why such activism is important, consider its strength and challenges, as underpinned by the work of critical media scholars, such as Stuart Hall and other prominent scholars. To do so, it provides relevant examples and cases which point at the role of and issues surrounding image, representation, (in) visibility, access, recognition, dissemination, censorship and identity, in relation to video activism.

The main findings are that video activism can be a helpful tool in the frame of Native Americans’ struggles for self-making and sovereignty, reversing the trend established historically first by the European settlers, and then by the American ‘mainstream’ population, whose aim was to erase and assimilate Indigenous peoples. However, although we pinpoint the fact that indigenous media, such as Fourth Cinema or video productions broadcast on platforms like Youtube, are used as political tools by Native Americans, the essay also means to highlight the limits of such tools, whether the latter are theoretical, or practical.

In summary, this article considers traditional indigenous media in self-making processes, mainly through the importance of filmmaking. Furthermore, it emphasizes how resistance, resurgence and sovereignty are pursued with the utilization of digital Indigenous media. It also tries to underline the limits of those methods which should be taken into account to strengthen Indigenous activism. Finally, even if these points are related here to Native American activism, they seem relevant to any kind of activism. It is hence key to highlight that the critical arguments and example provided here can support teachers’ work related to social justice. Teachers can use the examples and points made here as a reflection trigger with students in higher education across disciplines and high school, within and beyond the fields that tackle media, culture, sociology, and history.

Open Access

Severin Sales Rödel and Malte Brinkmann

This paper introduces the methodological approach and the pedagogical-phenomenological practice of video analysis. In a first step, basic structures of phenomenological theories of experience, of embodiment as well as theories of responsivity and image will be introduced. In a second step, watching and perceiving video data is identified as a responsive and participatory experience. In a third step, the methodical ground of our research is introduced by giving an overview of epistemological and methodological aspects of the phenomenological approach. In this context, the individual steps of phenomenological video analysis and phenomenological analysis in general will be put to practice on an example. In doing so, teaching in the classroom is determined as an interattentional form of responsivity, in which showing as a specific pedagogical form of embodiment corresponds with becoming attentive. In a final step, research results on a typology of pedagogical gestures of showing and pointing will be introduced.

Open Access

Lynley Tulloch and Paul Judge

In New Zealand one of the most significant animal rights issues is the systemic cruelty inherent in the dairy industry. This article presents a review of video activism as a strategy by activists in New Zealand to educate the public about the brutal and oppressive realities of dairy practices. To illustrate we offer a case study of an antidairy campaign in 2015 that was based on activist video work. This campaign was led by key animal rights groups SAFE and Farmwatch and was called The Dark Side of Dairy. In this case, video footage captured by activists was used to provide counter narratives to the dominant discourses of dairying and to educate the public about their consumption practices. We argue that dominant discourses of dairying are powerful shapers of public consciousness and based on welfarist ideology and myths of the rural Romantic Arcadia. To illustrate the strength of these dominant understandings we employ critical discourse analysis (CDA) and semiotic analysis. In teasing out the ways in which discourses of dairy farming have been constructed in New Zealand, we demonstrate the power of political forces in preserving the status quo around dairying. This paper concludes that the role of animal rights video activism lies primarily in educating the public to think more deeply and critically about human-animal relations and the depravations of dairy farming. It is the basis for a pedagogy of conscientization. We conclude that conscientization of the underpinning exploitative relations of animal agriculture can occur with the aid of witness to the animal’s suffering conveyed through the medium of video.

Open Access

Erica B. Walker and D. Matthew Boyer

Background: Mixed methods research commonly uses video as a tool for collecting data and capturing reflections from participants, but it is less common to use video as a means for disseminating results. However, video can be a powerful way to share research findings with a broad audience especially when combining the traditions of ethnography, documentary filmmaking, and storytelling.

Results: Our literature review focused on aspects relating to video within mixed methods research that applied to the perspective presented within this paper: the history, affordances and constraints of using video in research, the application of video within mixed methods design, and the traditions of research as storytelling. We constructed a Mind Map of the current literature to reveal convergent and divergent themes and found that current research focuses on four main properties in regards to video: video as a tool for storytelling/research, properties of the camera/video itself, how video impacts the person/researcher, and methods by which the researcher/viewer consumes video. Through this process, we found that little has been written about how video could be used as a vehicle to present findings of a study.

From this contextual framework and through examples from our own research, we present current and potential roles of video storytelling in mixed methods research. With digital technologies, video can be used within the context of research not only as data and a tool for analysis, but also to present findings and results in an engaging way.

Conclusions: In conclusion, previous research has focused on using video as a tool for data collection and analysis, but there are emerging opportunities for video to play an increased role in mixed methods research as a tool for the presentation of findings. By leveraging storytelling techniques used in documentary film, while staying true to the analytical methods of the research design, researchers can use video to effectively communicate implications of their work to an audience beyond academics and use video storytelling to disseminate findings to the public.

Open Access

Niina Rutanen, Kátia de Souza Amorim, Helen Marwick and Jayne White

This article and the four videos linked to this article are a result of the earliest experiences in establishing an international research collaboration among seven countries in the Project Social and emotional experiences in transition through the early years. We draw attention to the complex issues surrounding the many processes, beliefs and attitudes about infants in research that permeated our processes of gaining ethical approval for the international study and which posed many challenges for our project. Through a process of reflective analysis, we have identified a range of ethical tensions and issues which the different countries involved in this international study faced in gaining ethical approval from their institutional ethical committees for their collaborative participation. More specifically, we identify one persistent tension concerning the use of video data in research on young children. This tension is a result of diverse interpretations of international ethical codes, alongside local restrictions and ethics review processes. It illuminates various positions concerning the protection of infants’ privacy versus the benefits of using non-anonymous video data both in joint analysis, and even further, in open publishing. Such positions have been widely debated in research with adults, whereupon many of the ethically challenging questions have been dealt with through processes of acquiring informed consents from the participants. In case of infants, however, the role and nature of informed consents is different from research with adults, as is the role of the adult in using infant ‘data’ in research. For most cases, informed consents are acquired from the parents or the legal guardians that are not necessarily present on a day-to-day basis in the actual data collection process in early years educational settings. The question of children’s own assents for study is widely debated and this is no less so in the project we present in this paper. On the basis of the experiences in this international collaboration, and the challenges and tensions identified in between diverse cultural context and ethical review boards and practices, we propose that more dialogue in relation to research ethics on video research is needed within the diverse research communities and contexts, both locally and internationally. The dialogue is important to include also the representatives from the ethical committees, as the new (open) mediums for publishing are becoming more relevant and promising. Most important, ultimately, is the dialogue among the research participants, including where possible infants as contributors in their own right (as opposed to vulnerable subjects), and researchers in all phases of the research process.