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Description

Title:Cultural models of respectful subjectivity among primary school children in post-conflict Ayacucho, Peru: an embodied learning analysis
Author(s):Grim-Feinberg, Kate
Director of Research:Keller, Janet D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Keller, Janet D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Desmond, Jane; Escobar, Anna Maria; Orta, Andrew
Department / Program:Anthropology
Discipline:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Andes
child rearing
citizenship education
cognitive anthropology
educational policy
embodied learning
ethnography
Peru
Quechua
reconciliation policy
Shining Path
Abstract:In this dissertation, I approach the question of how educational policy and practice can shape children into peaceful, democratic citizens in a context of recent internal armed conflict. Broadly, I address the issue of how to make internationally derived policy discourses meaningful for children. Specifically, my study focuses on primary school students aged six to ten years old in a small town of southern Ayacucho, Peru that was devastated by the violence of Shining Path militants and state counterinsurgency troops in the 1980s-1990s. This is one of many post-conflict towns in Peru that continue to be targeted by state interventions framed by discourses of counterinsurgency and reconciliation. This research is based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with children and their families in which I engaged in participant observation in all realms of children’s lives. I examine how policy documents shaped by international development organizations influence, or fail to influence, classroom practice and learning among schoolchildren in a bilingual (Quechua-Spanish) Andean agricultural community. I develop the concept of respectful subjectivity as a culturally shared foundational schema underlying understandings of personhood and interpersonal relations among the children with whom I worked. I examine respectful subjectivity as a foundational cultural model that encompasses several domain-specific models which guide children’s behavior in particular situations. According to the foundational model of respectful subjectivity that I identified, one must respect the social order and ensure that others who form part of one’s social group also respect the social order so that the group as a whole can earn the respect of outsiders. This theoretical perspective has allowed me to compare children’s emergent embodied understandings of their own subjectivity with policy discourses about citizenship education, in order to identify gaps between the two and explore ways to close them. My methods are designed to allow for an analysis of embodied learning in at least two senses: I see children’s learning as both situated and multimodal. In order to account for the multiple situations and multiple modes through which children learn and develop a sense of moral subjectivity, I collected data through participant observation, interviews, and audiovisual documentation during family, school, and peer group activities. I used video and audio recording, photography, and written human movement notation in addition to written field notes of my subjective experiences, in order to document and analyze the communicative functions of children’s spatial relations, bodily postures, gestures, and speech, among other modalities. These methods allowed me to get at unarticulated models of respectful subjectivity that offer a bridge between children’s lived experience and policy discourses. I offer innovative theoretical and methodological approaches for exploring tensions between policy and practice that influence access to citizenship rights in a variety of realms, and argue that locally rooted models of interpersonal relations can serve as a path to more effective promotion of democracy, cultural inclusion, and human rights at school.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/44379
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Kate Grim-Feinberg
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05


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