Stolen Voices: Critical Theoretical Perspective on School Violence

Stolen Voices: Critical Theoretical Perspective on School Violence

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9935-9.ch011
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This chapter posits a view that while adults' freedom and liberty is much talked about and advanced in almost every sphere of life, particularly in America, freedom and social justice for the young has lagged behind especially in schools. Violence within schools continues to manifest in various forms including the denial of opportunity for students to meaningfully participate in decisions that affect them. The chapter explored some critical theoretical perspectives to shed light on the depth of the crisis through the lens of the child and those advocating children's rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Theoretical narratives from Freire, Dahl, Foucault, Weber, Michels among others have been used to establish a deeper understanding. Despite being touted as the leader of the free world America still struggles to reconcile its liberal ideals with violence suffered in schools by some children.
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Perceptions on childhood and the application of disciplinary networks in raising children vary considerably from culture to culture. However, there are universal historical trends that have characterised the location of children and broader human understanding of childhood. Grier (2006: 7) notes that

the notion that children are passive and subordinate grows out of a twentieth century and western reconstruction of childhood as a time of dependence upon, nurturing from and guidance (control) by adults. It also grows out of an understanding of pre-colonial and pre-capitalistic African societies as rigidly hierarchical, unchanging and without tension or conflict particularly between generations. In both constructions, children are to be seen not heard.

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