Making a circle: building a community of philosophical enquiry in a post-apartheid, government school in South Africa

Childhood and Philosophy 15:1-21 (2019)
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In this paper I attempt to trace some entanglements of an event documented in my PhD research, which contests dominant modes of enquiry. This research takes place with a group of Grade 2 learners in a government school in Cape Town, South Africa. It is experimental research which resists the human subject as the most important aspect of research, the only one with agency or intentionality. In particular, the analysis focuses on the process of the making of the circle, and how integral it is in contributing to building the Community of Enquiry, the pedagogy of Philosophy with Children. A critical posthuman analysis is offered which engages with the material-discursive entanglements of the making of the circle. Also, how this making of a circle can be a democratising practice, by including in the concept of democracy, the more-than-human. The analysis also focuses on the placing of the chairs by the children, as a deliberate pedagogical practice, and how this works to disrupt the adult /child binary. There is a move beyond the linguistic turn by paying attention to not only the discursive in the transcriptions but also the intra-actions in between human and more-than-human, the circle, the chairs and the materiality of place.

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Rose-Anne Reynolds
University of Cape Town


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