Is the 2019 Water Revolution a lesson of emancipatory education? A Rancierean invitation

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Kwok, Henry
Heimans, Stephen
Singh, Parlo
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2020
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This paper starts with an apparently provocative question–can we call the 2019 Water Revolution in Hong Kong a lesson of emancipatory education which awakens students’ critical consciousness and brings the postcolonial regime into democratic renewal? The mass social unrest, which was initially triggered by a controversial extradition legislation, has prompted local journalism and political discourse to speak of ‘the failure of education’: an outmoded form of citizenship education, lack of Chinese History as a core subject, radicalisation in school, regression in science and technology education, to name just few examples of crisis talk. Our discussion explores this question through the philosophical lens of Jacques Rancière. In Rancière’s understanding, ‘emancipation’ occurs in the ephemeral moments of subjectification in which individuals resist existing identity positions in the ‘police’ order, but speak on their own terms through ‘dissensual’ responses, under the supposition of ‘equality’ of ‘intelligence’. Episodes of the movement may look defiant but are not the rare moments of ‘dissensus’ in which people are unshackled from the prevalent distribution of the sensible. An example from this movement that borders on what Rancière means by ‘emancipation’ is the redistribution of chemistry knowledge about tear gas on a social media platform, which is initiated and crowdfunded by a group of anonymous postgraduate science students and circulated by a chemistry tutor from a private tuition school.

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Educational Philosophy and Theory
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This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Advances in Mental Health, 25 Mar 2020, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2020.1744132
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This publication has been entered in Griffith Research Online as an advanced online version.
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Specialist studies in education
Cognitive and computational psychology
History and philosophy of specific fields
Social Sciences
Education & Educational Research
Dissensus
emancipation
Ranciere
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Kwok, H; Heimans, S; Singh, P, Is the 2019 Water Revolution a lesson of emancipatory education? A Rancierean invitation, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 2020
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