Interrogating Heteronormativity in Primary Schools

The No Outsiders Project

August 2009
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    24th August 2009
  • ISBN 9781858564586
  • Language English
  • Pages 186 pp.
  • Size 6.125" x 9.25"

The No Outsiders team, a collaboration of primary education practitioners and university researchers, has taken groundbreaking steps in addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in primary schools. DePalma and Atkinson and their colleagues from the ESRC-funded No Outsiders research team explore and analyze central issues which permeate the team's challenge to gender conformity through primary education.

The need for primary teachers and other professionals working with children to address equality in relation to sexual orientation and gender expression is becoming increasingly urgent in the light of recent changes in UK legislation. The Civil Partnership Act (2006), the Equality Act (2007) and new legislative requirements for ensuring the active promotion of child wellbeing, gender equality and community cohesion all place demands which schools and support services are ill-equipped to meet. This book fills a gap by examining how we might go about addressing these demands.

Interrogating Heteronormativity in Primary Schools brings together the wide-ranging expertise of the project's large research team, plus a chapter by Susan Talburt. It explores key themes related to the project's work: silence and speaking out; faith and culture; leadership and role-modelling; personal and emotional investment; gay rights/liberal humanist and queer perspectives; safety and risk-taking; the possibility of a queer pedagogy; and intersections between queer theory and practice.

This academic companion to the team's practice-focused book drawing on the project teachers' classroom work, Undoing Homophobia in Primary Schools, will be essential reading for all those in primary education who are concerned to challenge this last bastion of inequality, as well as for students and researchers in sociology, cultural studies, queer studies and related fields where the underlying discourses shaping heteronormativity and gender conformity require urgent analysis in the move towards a fairer society.

Introduction—Renée DePalma and Elizabeth Atkinson
1) Putting Queer into Practice: Problems and Possibilities—Renée DePalma and Elizabeth Atkinson
2) Seeking a Queer(ying) Pedagogic Praxis: Adventures in the Classroom and Participatory Action Research—Fin Cullen
3) Lessons in Praxis: Thinking About Knowledge, Subjectivity and Politics in Education—Deborah Youdell
4) ‘Vanilla’ Strategies: Compromise or Collusion?—David Nixon
5) Speaking the Unspeakable in Forbidden Places: Addressing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality in the Primary School—Alexandra Allan, Elizabeth Akinson, Elizabeth Brace, Renée DePalma and Judy Hemingway
6) Toys, Pleasures and the Future—Susan Talburt
7) Bodies and Minds: Essentialism, Activism and Strategic Disruptions in the Primary School and Beyond—Elizabeth Atkinson and Andrew Moffat
8) A Democratic Community of Practice: Unpicking all those Words—Renée DePalma and Laura Teague
9) No Outsiders: Exploring Transformations at the Intersections of Communities of Practice—Elizabeth Brace
Notes on Contributors

Renee DePalma

Renee DePalma of the University of Sunderland has written extensively on equality and inclusion and is Senior Researcher for the ESRC-funded project No Outsiders: Researching Approaches to Sexualities Equality in Primary Schools.

Elizabeth Atkinson

Elizabeth Atkinson has published widely on equality and human rights, with special interest in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. She is Director of the No Outsiders research project, and was convenor of the ESRC-funded seminar series, Invisible Boundaries: Addressing Sexualities Equality in Children’s Worlds. Elizabeth is series co-editor of Trentham’s Discourse, Power, Resistance series.