Interrogating Heteronormativity in Primary Schools

The No Outsiders Project

Paperback / softback, 191 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 Jun 2009
Trentham Books Ltd

Price: £19.99

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The No Outsiders team, a collaboration of primary education practitioners and university researchers, has taken groundbreaking steps in addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in primary schools. This book continues Trentham's commitment to challenging homophobia and heterosexism in and through education and follows Atkinson and DePalma's account of sexualities equality in children's worlds in school and beyond: Invisible Boundaries - addressing sexualities equality in children's world. In "Interrogating Normativity" they and their colleagues from the ESRC-funded No Outsiders research team explore and analyse central issues which permeate the team's challenge to gender conformity through primary education. The need for primary teachers and other professionals working with children to address equality in relation to sexual orientation and gender expression is becoming increasingly urgent in the light of recent changes in UK legislation. The Civil Partnership Act (2006), the Equality Act (2007) and new legislative requirements for ensuring the active promotion of child wellbeing, gender equality and community cohesion all place demands on schools and support services which they are ill-equipped to meet. This book fills a gap by examining how we might go about addressing these demands. "Interrogating Heteronormativity in Primary Schools" brings together the wide-ranging expertise of the project's large research team, plus a chapter by Susan Talburt. It explores key themes related to the project's work: silence and speaking out; faith and culture; leadership and role-modelling; personal and emotional investment; gay rights/liberal humanist and queer perspectives; safety and risk-taking; the possibility of a queer pedagogy; and intersections between queer theory and practice. This academic companion to the team's practice-focused book drawing on the project teachers' classroom work, "Undoing Homophobia in Primary Schools", will be essential reading for all those in primary education who are concerned to challenge this last bastion of inequality, as well as for students and researchers in sociology, cultural studies, queer studies and related fields where the underlying discourses shaping heteronormativity and gender conformity require urgent analysis in the move towards a fairer society.

  • Renee DePalma

  • Elizabeth Atkinson

CONTENTS: Introduction; 1. Putting queer into practice: Problems and possibilities; 2. Seeking a queer(ing) pedagogic praxis: Adventures in the classroom and participatory action research; 3. Lessons in praxis: Thinking about knowledge, subjectivity and politics in education; 4. 'Vanilla' strategies: Compromise or collusion; 5. Speaking the unspeakable in forbidden places: Addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the primary school; 6. Toys, pleasures and the future; 7. Bodies and minds: Essentialism, activism and strategic disruptions in the primary school and beyond; 8. A democratic community of practice: Unpicking all those words; 9. No Outsiders: Exploring transformations at the intersections of communities of practice; Note on contributors; Acknowledgements; References; Index.