Autumn Seminar 2016

Wednesday October 12th

Dr Janet Batsleer, Manchester Metropolitan University
Time: 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Location: G.16, Brooks Building, MMU

Participation: A Horizon for Democratic Citizenship Education?

Click here to listen to seminar

The Partispace project, in which MMU are partners, is an eight city European study of the spaces and styles of young people’s participation in democratic life, using a heuristic framework which delineates formal (institutionalised), non-formal (using facilitation but negotiated) and informal (self-directed) spaces and forms. ( This is the mid point of the project and we are using this ESRI seminar to present some work in progress.

Overall, the MMU team – Janet Batsleer, Alexandre Pais, Harriet Rowley and Geoff Bright – are involved in the planning and designing of research, in ethnographic studies, in discourse analysis/ideology critique and in action research, on which we are working closely with colleagues in Huddersfield, particularly Dr Grainne McMahon. We are also involved in conceptualisation and theorisation.

In this presentation we will briefly outline the overall project, and hope to share extracts from a film made during action research. The main focus however will be a paper presented at Philosophy of Education stream in ECER by Janet Batsleer this summer. The paper takes off from the thinking of Chantal Mouffe on ‘the democratic paradox’ and enquires into the presence of ‘hate’ as a significant experience for the work of Manchester Youth Council whose campaign this year had the slogan ‘Don’t Hate Educate’. Drawing on the work of two contrasting feminist theorists, Iris Marian Young and Rosi Braidotti, and their engagements with difference, the paper seeks to develop an account of what may be emerging at and as a boundary of democracy. It goes on to explore the implications of this for discussions of democratic learning, especially in relation to the emergence of difference within or at the edge of ‘the public square’ and the mobilisations of hate which sometimes accompany it.

Short Biography
Janet Batsleer studied English at Cambridge and was a research student at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, She then worked as a youth and community worker for ten years before taking up a post as Lecturer in Youth and Community Work at Manchester Polytechnic. She has taught, developed practice and conducted research in youth and community work since then, and was part of the team which established a Women’s Studies M.A. at MMU, which ran successfully during the 1990′s. Her research has focussed on anti-racist and feminist approaches to youth work; on the theory and practice of informal education in youth work settings; on alternative education traditions and the resources they offer to people whose lives are conducted at the margins of the mainstream. She has published on informal groupwork responses to young people who self-harm; on groupwork with South Asian women survivors of domestic violence; on arts-based practice with young men who are on the edge of the sex industry; as well as on lesbian,gay,queer and trans youth work. She recently published a second edition of ‘YouthWorking with Girls and Young Women in Community Settings A Feminist Perspective’ (Ashgate 2013 ) which presents a feminist-inspired community-based approach to informal education for and with girls, linked to the Feminist Webs oral history initiative. Recent journal papers 'Against Role Models. Tracing the History of Manliness in Youth Work' (in Youth and Policy November 2012) and 'Precarity,Food and Accompaniment in Community and Youth Work' (Ethnography and Education June 2016) are attempts to respond to contemporary conditions in the most abjected communities. She is leading the Partispace project in Manchester and co-ordinating the European fieldwork, along with Dr Geoff Bright, Dr Alexandre Pais, and Dr Harriet Rowley here at MMU, alongside a team based at Huddersfield University (Dr Grainne McMahon, with Prof Nigel Thomas and Prof Barry Percy-Smith).