A case study of one school's resistance to counter-radicalisation policy imperatives: Belonging, critical engagement, and lingering silences

Year: 2016

Author: Mayes, Eve, Low, Remy, Mockler, Nicole

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Responding to calls for work on the “real consequences for the everyday lives of real people” (Aly & Green, 2010, p. 270) of de/radicalisation policies and programs, this paper questions: What are the material and embodied consequences of and relationship between counter-radicalisation policy and media texts about de/radicalisation, one school leader’s response, and the lived experiences of students, teachers and parent/ community members? One comprehensive public high school, where the principal has actively worked to build a sense of belonging and social cohesion, is the central site for analysis of counter-radicalisation policy enactment. To critically examine lived responses to the constitution of the concept of radicalisation is politically and methodologically problematic, with the danger of reifying and materialising the very concept that it seeks to interrogate and dismantle. It was unthinkable to describe the design of this case study to the Human Research Ethics Committees with the term “radicalisation” in the title. Instead, this case study proposed to explore one school’s approach to building a sense of belonging to school and engagement in social justice issues in the community and the world, and to listen to students’, teachers’ and community members’ accounts of pedagogical and extra-curricular programs aiming to build a sense of belonging and critical engagement in and beyond school. This paper discusses what was said during this case study about fostering a sense of belonging and critical engagement through particular school and community programs. Simultaneously, this paper also explores the methodological problem of silence in particular case study research encounters. Attempting to move beyond “familiar accounts of counter-politics” (Singh, Heimans & Glasswell, 2014), this paper attends to the analytical “cuts” that we, as researchers, make in our processes of generating data and conducting analyses about responses to deradicalisation policies and texts (cf. Barad, 2007), and to what is left unspoken and what is unhearable (Foucault, 1977). Reference ListAly, A., & Green, L. (2010). Fear, anxiety and the state of terror. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33(3), 268-281.Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham & London: Duke University Press.Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison (A. Sheridan, Trans.). New York: Penguin.Singh, P., Heimans, S., & Glasswell, K. (2014). Policy enactment, context and performativity: ontological politics and researching Australian National Partnership policies. Journal of Education Policy, 29(6), 826-844.