Emotions and Social Inequalities: Mobilizing Emotions for Social Justice Education
Advances in Teacher Emotion Research: The Impact on Teachers' Lives. Eds. Paul A. Schutz and Michalinos Zembylas. New York: Springer, 2009
In this chapter we focus on the interplay of emotions with social justice education, with particular attention to how emotions and social justice education can be mutually engaged as both critical and transformational forces to produce better teaching and learning opportunities for marginalized students. We discuss the relevance and complexity of emotions in relation to social justice, through sustaining or remedying social inequalities. We then describe an example of teaching for/about social justice, showing how reflecting on and interrogating emotions can help perpetuate or disrupt historical and local practices that reproduce inequity. This example is grounded in empirical data taken from a case study of a white novice teacher who attempted to teach for/about social justice in an urban school in Midwestern United States. In the last part of the chapter, we argue for the urgent need to reconceptualize the interplay between emotions and social justice education in order to capitalize on the possibilities that lie therein. In particular, we build upon a previous analysis of the notion of critical emotional praxis–that is, critical praxis informed by emotion that resists unjust systems and practices as well as emotion that helps create a more fair and just world in our classrooms and our everyday lives–to show how inclusive this notion can be in addressing issues of social justice education.