Voices from 'the back of the class': an examination of the potential role of education for regeneration from the perspective of residents from Limerick's regeneration communities
Blackett, Declan G.
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Voices from ‘the back of the class’: An examination of the potential role of education for regeneration from the perspective of residents from Limerick’s regeneration communities. This study sought to give voice to individuals from communities who are often excluded from participation in public discourses and processes affecting their lives. It sets out to explore how education and the education system in Limerick city served residents form Limerick’s regeneration communities in the past, and how they might better serve them presently and in the future? It also sought to explore from their perspective how education might contribute to regeneration processes in Limerick city. The thesis employed a synthesis of diverse inter-disciplinary theoretical frameworks, i.e. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory and social critical theory. A theoretical framework for urban regeneration consisting of ‘broken windows’ (Wilson and Kelling, 1982) and ‘neighbourhood effects’ (Wilson, 1987) was also employed. The study is supported by the literature on education and poverty and urban regeneration. A qualitative, constructivist and participatory was employed for knowledge creation, with Husserlian phenomenology employed as the central research method to investigate the lived experiences and voices of participants. The data set included twelve in-depth semi-structured open-ended focus group interviews and seven individual interviews. Field notes contributed to the data which were recorded during and after interviews, and during and after member checking. The thesis provides a unique perspective on education from the perspective of those who took part in the study. It finds that many of the social problems in Limerick’s regeneration communities developed over time, caused in part by poverty, social exclusion and hegemonic interests, of which the education system was found to have played a role. However, it also finds that the field of education has the potential to play an active part in the transformation of individuals and communities, hence the relevance of education for regeneration processes. The study likewise finds that rather than seeing education as a means for overcoming poverty, education ought to ensure that society is oriented towards a more equal and just society, through the redistribution of resources and the dividends of citizenship and democracy. Furthermore, it finds that meaningfully including those often excluded from participation in public discourses and processes affecting their lives can help ensure that education and urban regeneration better meets the needs of those whom they purport to serve. Finally, the study makes acknowledgement of the importance and the power of human relationships for teaching and learning and developmental outcomes.
KeywordsEducation for regeneration
Limerick's regeneration communities
Education - Limerick
Language (ISO 639-3)eng
PublisherMary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
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