Anti-Oppressive Education and the Trap of 'Good' Intentions: Lessons From an Interdisciplinary Workshop

  • Michelle Stewart University of Regina
  • Michael Cappello University of Regina
  • Claire Carter University of Regina
Keywords: Anti-Oppressive Education, Power, Social Justice, Critical Pedagogies, Intersectionality, Interdisciplinary, Collaboration

Abstract

This article is about the challenges of doing anti-oppressive education in a post-secondary context with a community of interdisciplinary colleagues. Critical examination of an anti-oppressive workshop, and subsequent focus group, reveals how good intentions can nevertheless reproduce the conditions we seek to challenge. To make sense of the challenges of doing this work, the authors offer three different analyses of the feedback received in the focus group. Drawing on literature from anti-oppressive education, feminist and critical theory, the authors focus on the role of engagement and recognition to highlight the power that underlies participation. By analyzing key insights from a focus group discussion, the authors seek to disrupt the relationship between identities rooted in goodness and efforts to do anti-oppressive work. Anti-oppressive work must grapple with the lived political, everyday realities we inhabit. This necessarily involves actively challenging the structural conditions that facilitate oppression.

Author Biographies

Michelle Stewart, University of Regina

Michelle Stewart is an Assistant Professor in Justice Studies at the University of Regina where she teaches classes in the area of social justice and research methods and design.

Michael Cappello, University of Regina

Michael Cappello is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina where he teaches educational core studies.

Claire Carter, University of Regina

Claire Carter is an Assistant Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Program at the University of Regina where she teaches in the area of sexualitities and women's health.

Published
2014-10-01
Section
Articles