Troubling pathways: Exploring the schooling experiences of young people in Winnipeg’s inner city through a Peace & Conflict Studies frame

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Hyde, Julie Marie
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This multi-method qualitative study explores the educational and community experiences of middle years students attending one public school located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The purpose of this work was to engage in a contrapuntal re-reading of the hegemonic map—as conceptualized in existing scholarship and policy—used to explain differentiated educational attainment rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada. This map has provided the foundation for policy and practice meant to close statistical gaps in attainment—efforts which have largely failed to address the relative disparity between populations. This study presents an outline of this map and then reinscribes excluded perspectives to highlight aspects of the educational landscape which are commonly ignored or misconstrued. While methodologically committed to the non-prescriptive approaches common to grounded theory and narrative research, this study was influenced by the author’s own disciplinary background in Peace and Conflict Studies. It sought to press against the critical periphery of this field by engaging with the notion of “everyday peace” as well as postcolonial studies, educational studies, and childhood studies. It was designed as a methodological bricolage and draws together multiple research methods, including mind mapping; focus groups; semi-structured interviews; participant observation; and document analysis. These engagements offered insight into differently-situated vantage points from which the educational landscape is viewed. During these exchanges, participants told both stories about (definitional stories) and stories of (open, nuanced stories of lived experience). Examination of the former allowed for the identification of the sensemaking frames employed by participants while considering the latter provided counter-stories that challenge dominant understandings. Analysis of this data suggests that the existing map of the educational landscape tends to homogenize diverse experiences; constructs “mythical norms” of idealized studenthood, workerhood, and parenthood; and reverberates with neoliberal, colonial, and adultist discourses. Further, it excludes and/or contorts the perspectives and embodied experiences of young people, thereby rendering their capacity for agency as invisible, illegitimate, or pathological. Reinscribing these perspectives and experiences suggests a need to denaturalize and challenge not just the map, but also the educational landscape upon which it is based and the hegemonic storyscape which delegitimizes alternative conceptualizations.
Indigenous education, Education, Winnipeg