Anti-Sectarian Adult Education in Northern Ireland

Smala, Simone (2007). Anti-Sectarian Adult Education in Northern Ireland PhD Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Smala, Simone
Thesis Title Anti-Sectarian Adult Education in Northern Ireland
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007-11
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Prof. Peter Renshaw
Dr. Ravinder Sidhu
Total pages 250
Total colour pages 2
Total black and white pages 248
Subjects 330000 Education
Abstract/Summary This thesis presents an analysis of adult education programs concerned with reconciliation, and more specifically with reconciliation pedagogy used by community organisations in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland for many years was the site of inter-ethnic violence expressed through sectarian and paramilitary presence, but has moved towards a more peaceful, civil society in recent years. This thesis investigates how the role of the citizen-subject in the new Northern Ireland is constituted in adult education programs and how funding regimes govern such community relations initiatives. The thesis offers a critical analysis of interviews with tutors, participants, designers and managers involved in a selected peace and reconciliation course. A broader view on reconciliation pedagogy and curriculum in anti-sectarian adult education in Northern Ireland leads to a closer exploration of social practices and power relations surrounding the chosen course, while drawing upon selected aspects of social theory, Foucauldian discourse analysis and concepts of governmentality. The analysis revealed that the chosen anti-sectarian course, ‘Us and Them’ (Workers Educational Association), proposes individualisation and responsibilisation as alternatives to community identities and nationalistic myths of origins. Equal rights are interpreted as equal rights to cultural expressions, and culture is continuously privileged over other structural differentials in Northern Ireland such as poverty, class or colour. ‘Us and Them’ is one component of a large machinery of projects designed to address the conflict situation in Northern Ireland. This machinery finds its centre in the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, which privileges certain knowledges based on cultural consociationalism over others and which distributes funds for peace and reconciliation projects accordingly. Furthermore,the thesis examines how contemporary policy papers addressing community relations shape discourses found in anti-sectarian strategies and the rationales, strategies and policies informing “Us and Them’. The aim of the analysis is to explore the power and potential (and the limitations) of individualisation and responsibilisation as techniques in peace and reconciliation pedagogy in post-settlement ethnic conflict situations.
Keyword Education, adult education, ethnic conflict, governmentality, Northern Ireland, sectarianism, reconciliation, community relations, community relations policy, community relations funding
Additional Notes Colour Pages: 95 and 203 Landscape Pages: 41 and 42

 
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