More on the workshop theme
Provision of common and equitable support opportunities for all citizens in the areas of education, health care, security, etc are understood as constituting a hall mark in democratic societies in the North. Recognizing and focusing marginalization processes of different kinds thus comprises an important enterprise both at the societal level and as an analytical project. Present day societies in the North, (but as illustrated by recent events in northern Africa in the South as well) are characterized by an intense social, cultural and technological flux and an increasing degree of complexity and shifts. Increasing mobility and the explosion of digitalized social media are being conceptualized both in terms of a collapse of and the (re)creation of boarders and relationships. Such changes mediate new forms of relationships and connections in, between and among groups, families, school environments and society. “Change is the new order and the given”, one can say.
These kinds of changes suggest that newer research platforms are needed for making visible aspects of present day marginalization processes that manifest themselves in institutional settings generally and educational arenas more particularly. Marginalization processes in educational and other support systems are both apparent but also invisible. Here a tension exists between the emphasis on a common similar education or health care facility for all and the increased exclusion and segregation tendencies that are reported in evaluations and research alike. While research has focused upon the marginalization of different groups for quite some time (like girls and boys, functionally disabled, minorities and immigrants, etc), two issues can be noted: firstly, the theoretical and methodological foci have not uncommonly zoomed in primarily at the macro and meso levels; secondly, different groups or identity categories have been studied separately. Focusing the processes whereby human beings are marginalized from micro-interactional perspectives and from intersectional positions (rather than from separate identity categories) is therefore noteworthy of attention in terms of a central dimension of the research agenda. Here issues of equity and inclusion are attended from an interest in “what is or what was happening here” and thus it is imperative that micro-level processes are unveiled and focused upon in newer types of trans-disciplinary platforms.
Such an enterprise requires (i) the use of theoretical orientations and methodologies that enable the observation of social acts as ongoing processes, stretching over time and (ii) the need to attend to dimensions of power that enable analysis of ongoing marginalization processes. A range of theoretical positions are interesting here in that ongoing social processes are accorded salient positions. Perspectives that accord communication and human interaction primacy and contribute to understandings of didactics and learning are a central dimension in this enterprise. Recent conceptual ideas such as languaging and intertextuality, the plurality of literacies, membership and learning issues in communities of practices and affinity groups or networks, identification processes and subject positions related to intersectionality, and, the parallel processes of inclusion and exclusion constitute some of the ways in which theorizing is taking place in newer research discussions. The international Marginalization Processes conference-cum-workshop is an attempt at taking these types of ideas as points of departure with the concomitant aim of pushing the discussion further through the creation of a new trans-disciplinary platform.