HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 21 no. 1 (2020)

RESISTING THE ‘VIEW FROM NOWHERE’: POSITIONALITY IN PHILOSOPHY FOR/WITH CHILDREN RESEARCH

Peter Paul Elicor

 

Abstract:

While Philosophy for/with Children (P4wC) provides a better alternative to the usual ‘banking’ model of education, questions have been raised regarding its applicability in non-western contexts. Despite its adherence to the ideals of democratic dialogue, not all members of a Community of Inquiry (COI) will be disposed to participate in the inquiry, not because they are incapable of doing so, but because they are positioned inferiorly within the group thereby affecting their efforts to speak out on topics that are meaningful to them. In this article, I claim that it is essential to integrate positionality in P4wC research/practice. Aside from its role in helping a practitioner/researcher choose the appropriate method and materials that match the unique contexts of children, it also increases one’s awareness of the subtle forms of epistemic injustice that could leak in the COI, as well as the other subtle ways in which children are marginalized. In this regard, a P4wC researcher/practitioner must have a higher degree of sensitivity towards her positionality as this inevitably gets entangled with the positionality of children. I present some ‘areas’ in which the importance of positionality in the COI manifests, namely, restructuring classroom power relations, navigating a multi-ethnic classroom, facilitating meaning-making, and modeling reflective thinking.