Who are we? And what's refugee education got to do with it?

Year: 2006

Author: Hattam, Robert

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

During the last decade or so, schooling policy has had to increasingly grapple with processes that have a global reach. One significant aspect of globalisation has been the global flows of asylum seekers and refugees. Although Australia has a long history of accepting asylum seekers and refugees, in recent times, concerns about national security have fuelled community disquiet about refugees and asylum seekers. As such the 'refugee problem' is a crucial site for research by those interested in the relationships between a vibrant and socially just society and educational policy and practice. This paper is an analysis of a case study of refugee experiences in Australian schools, drawing on policy texts, and interviews with policy actors and teachers. The framing for analysis will be an engagement with the problematic: who are we? (Or what's happened to 'community'?) The paper will be working from various takes on community including: Rose's genealogy of 'community' (that is community is now a site for governmentality); Agamben's imagining of the 'becoming community' (what does it mean to think about community past the Cartesian subject?); and Bauman's meditation on 'elusive community' (how can be have both freedom and security?)