Marginal pleasures: Teachers, transgression and transformation

Year: 1999

Author: Pendergast, Donna, McWilliam, Erica

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper interrogates the productive possibilities of teaching 'in the margins'. We begin by noting the work done by poststructural scholars to rethink the geometry of margins and centres, given the capillary and shifting nature of power. We apply this understanding to a small group of self-designated marginal individuals teaching in a marginal school subject. What emerges from this doctoral study is a picture of these marginal individuals as pleasured in many respects by their very marginality. While they engage in moments of transgression, these are not mobilised by any intent to subvert hegemonic schooling practice: indeed, it is this very practice which allows such teachers the privilege of their transgressive Otherness and greater popularity with students. The distinctions made by Michel Foucault between 'moderation/ immoderation' and 'continence/incontinence' in the construction of the ethical individual are used to examine this issue more fully.