The Power of Affect: Teacher Activism as Resistance to Neoliberalism in Saskatchewan

Authors

  • Trudy Keil University of Regina
  • Pamela Osmond-Johnson University or Regina

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v68i4.74586

Abstract

With prevailing global neoliberal ideology, teachers and teacher unions must respond to market-driven governmental policies intended to undermine public education. In Saskatchewan, Canada, teacher activists feel compelled to both counter neoliberal discourses and proactively advocate for equitable, high-quality public education. To explore acts of resistance, semi-structured interviews with four teacher activists were employed to understand how teachers enact advocacy within their union and through grassroots activism. Harding et al.’s (2018) framework of alliances, assemblages, and affects informed data analysis, which included the creation of narrative vignettes characterizing teacher voice. This paper specifically discusses findings which suggest that affect, or how emotions do things, presented teachers with new potentialities for shaping educational policy.

Keywords: narrative inquiry, teacher unions, grassroots teacher activism, neoliberalism, poststructuralism, affect

Face à l'idéologie néolibérale mondiale dominante, les enseignants et les syndicats d'enseignants doivent répondre aux politiques gouvernementales axées sur le marché et destinées à saper l'éducation publique. En Saskatchewan, au Canada, les enseignants militants se sentent obligés de contrer les discours néolibéraux et de défendre de manière proactive une éducation publique équitable et de qualité. Des entretiens semi-structurés avec quatre enseignants militants ont été utilisés pour explorer les actes de résistance et comprendre comment les enseignants défendent leurs intérêts au sein de leur syndicat et par le biais du militantisme de base. Le cadre d'alliances, d'agencements et d'affects de Harding et al. (2018) a guidé l'analyse des données, qui comprenait la création de vignettes narratives caractérisant la voix des enseignants. Cet article traite spécifiquement des résultats qui suggèrent que l'affect, ou la façon dont les émotions font les choses, a présenté aux enseignants de nouvelles potentialités pour façonner la politique éducative.

Mots clés : enquête narrative, syndicats d'enseignants, activisme des enseignants de la base, néolibéralisme, poststructuralisme, affect

Author Biographies

Trudy Keil, University of Regina

Trudy Keil (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. Employing poststructuralism, her dissertation research explores multifaceted teacher activism. Her work has been inspired by seventeen years of experience teaching in Saskatchewan public schools as well as involvement in teacher activism both within and beyond the union. Trudy hopes to inspire and empower Saskatchewan and Canadian teachers to view themselves as impactful political actors and, at the same time, draw widespread attention to the value of democratic, public education.

Pamela Osmond-Johnson, University or Regina

Pamela Osmond-Johnson (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership with the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina and is currently the Associate Dean, Student Services and Undergraduate Programs. Her scholarship focuses heavily on the work of teacher activists and alternative discourses of teacher professionalism. She was the recipient of the 2017 EdCan Pat Clifford Award for Emerging Scholar in Canadian Education.

Published

2022-12-21

How to Cite

Keil, T., & Osmond-Johnson, P. (2022). The Power of Affect: Teacher Activism as Resistance to Neoliberalism in Saskatchewan. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 68(4), 537–560. https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v68i4.74586

Issue

Section

ARTICLES