Teachers’ power and disruption: Impacts on capability development of Dalit students

Year: 2018

Author: Khanal, Sudeep, Charles, Dr. Claire, Gallant, Dr. Andrea

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper focuses on main concern in Nepalese education which is high dropout rates and weak performances of Dalit students in comparison to non-Dalit students, despite the provision of government Dalit scholarships. In the hierarchical Nepalese society, non-Dalits, such as Brahmins and Kshatriya are viewed and placed in a superior position and known as pure. Whereas Dalits are viewed and placed in an inferior position and are known as impure (Dahal 2003). This paper presents understanding an examination of how the school authority might promote or impede capability development opportunities for Dalit students. Bourdieu’s theoretical elements, such as cultural capital, habitus, field, reflexivity, and doxa is applied to investigate the teachers’ power (exercised in the form of language, expression, behaviour) and its effect on the capability development opportunities for Dalits’ students in a Nepalese school setting. Bourdieu (2003) argues that education is a part of reproduction, so I run the risk of becoming a part of that reproduction if I embed only white European male theorist. As Connell (2007) argues, I need to disrupt a neo-colonial politics of knowledge by exercising reflexivity around power by recognising the importance of taking up southern theorists to complement Bourdieu to understand the Nepalese context. Similarly, I attempted to disrupt the power of my habitus and cultural capital through reflexivity. The research takes up Kincheloe’s notion of bricolage as a methodological resource. This multi-methodological approach will challenge, update and improve knowledge shaped by each method as well as disrupt power and produce inclusive knowledge (Kincheloe 2001). Data collection involves observation, interviews, focus group discussion, and students interviewing their parents.
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