Re-presentation and resistance in the context of school exclusion: reasons to be critical.
Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 14
In this article an examination of how we, in the everyday, develop critical engagement with the shifting relations of power and oppression around us is presented. The article explores the role of representations in maintaining the racialized patterns of school exclusion in Britain. Social representations theory is used to investigate how racializing re-presentations pervade and create institutionalized practices, how these re-presentations invade young people's sense of self and ultimately how young people collaborate to resist and reject oppressive relations. The material presented here, from interviews with young people excluded from school, and parents, teachers and others involved in school exclusion, illustrates how young people problematize and critique racializing re-presentations while participating in the conditions of oppression and resistance that pervade their experiences of school. The discussion is divided into three sections. The first examines the institutionalization of stigmatizing representations, visible in social practices. The second section looks at the role of re-presentation in the social construction of Black pupils. The concluding section explores the possibilities of resistance and critical engagement in the everyday. As a whole this reveals how young people develop critical engagement with the re-presentations that filter into and so constitute their realities. This enables an analysis of the role of resistance and contestation in social re-presentation, highlights the importance of participation and community and so invites a critical version of social representations theory.
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