Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice

The issues involved in poverty, inequality and social justice are many and varied, from basic access to education and healthcare, to the financial crisis and resulting austerity, and now COVID-19. Addressing Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, our list both presents research on these topics and tackles emerging problems. A key series in the area is the SSSP Agendas for Social Justice.

This focus has always been at the heart of our publishing with the view to making the research in this area as visible and accessible as possible in order to maximise its potential impact.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Poverty, inequality and social justice, we aim to address the following goals: 

Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice

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This chapter brings together key areas discussed in Chapters 2, 3 and 4 to focus on what they can tell us about female teacher agency. This discussion contributes to outlining recommendations to support effective reflective practice among teachers in India. Teacher values outlined in previous chapters act as the foundation for understanding female teacher agency and how reflective practice can be developed within teacher education. Specifically, Chapter 5 outlines the classroom as a space for female teacher empowerment and how reworking teacher effectiveness in India can support reflective practice.

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Implications for Reflective Practice
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Education in India concentrates on exam performance and consequently the teacher in India often acts as a disseminator of textbook material, as well as maintaining class discipline and respect. This book explores low-income female teachers’ speech and syntax as a crucial resource in which agency, freedom and empowerment is enacted within a strong oral tradition in India.

The book demonstrates how this socially and economically marginalised group overcome prejudices to develop relational agency and embed their authority. It shows how they establish their values and why their beliefs shape attitudes to aspiration, achievement and freedom of choice. It concludes with recommendations for policy and improvements to reflective practice in teaching.

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This chapter sets out ways in which female teachers are marginalised and continually displaced. Social, economic and education contexts of female teacher displacement examine restrictions placed on women’s work and income levels, educational opportunities for girls and their role within the household, as well as the impact of educational culture and policy on the teacher’s role. Chapter 1 concludes with an argument for the lived experiences of low-income female teachers to be taken into account to respond to a lack of representation within policy and education development within India.

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This chapter centres upon teachers’ understanding of Habermas’s notion of authentic knowledge and what teachers believe is transformation for their students and themselves. The chapter draws upon teacher responses to examine their social praxis, as defined by a form of distributed personhood, to pass on knowledge to their students.

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This chapter outlines teacher’s perceptions of their roles. This includes their social relationships with students and colleagues, expectations of behaviour from students, dynamics of the classroom and motivations to become a teacher. Family expectations and roles are also examined, as this provides a crucial foundation for understanding why women from low-income backgrounds choose to teach and how this contributes to their need to stay within the profession.

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This chapter examines the way teachers defined their social spaces in terms of who was part of their community and who was outside this. The definition of community itself is explored in this chapter in relation to teacher relationships that maintain social cohesion by avoiding internal conflict and protecting each other from external intrusion. This chapter also builds on teachers’ understanding of core neoliberal ideologies that have defined education policy in India, by commenting on what a meaningful life is for themselves.

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This chapter explores the temporalities of gentrification, arguing that promises of inclusion can work to keep us hooked to a version of the present that actually forecloses an alternative vision of the future. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork and reflections collected after the redevelopment project’s ultimate approval, the chapter mobilizes temporality as a conceptual framework to focus on the active construction of multiple temporalities and the political work these do in (un)tying the past, present and future of the pub in the service of the normalization of dominant social relations. At the same time, I also argue that the kinds of socialities, relationships and friendships developed in trying to survive a violent present can lead to the creation of alternative queer utopias. These do not emerge from seeking inclusion within the dominant institutions and processes of capital accumulation, but from daring to imagine a queer future that overcomes the limits of the past and the up-beat, optimistic futures offered by gentrification.

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This chapter sets the stage for the ethnographic work by following the emergence of corporate investments in LGBTQ+ diversity in tandem with a story about the gentrification of east London. I read investments in diversity made by east London’s wealthiest dwellers against the backdrop of growing inequalities, austerity policies, the closure of queer spaces and the exclusionary tendencies of neoliberal processes of capital accumulation for some of the area’s most marginalized inhabitants. In the chapter I bring these threads together in order to reconcile corporate investments in LGBTQ+ diversity with a broader critique of capitalism and its crises.

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This chapter traces the emergence of a new brand of corporate diversity politics which, rather than requiring queer subjects to appear ‘virtually normal’ (Drucker, 2015), actually addresses them in their difference. I examine the emergence of queer difference as something that adds value not simply to the corporation but to the entrepreneurial queer self. The chapter documents fieldwork experiences at corporate LGBTQ+ networking events and, in particular, at the London chapter of the Lesbians Who Tech conference, a networking event catering to lesbian and queer women working in the world of tech. I argue that such events enshrine the neoliberal reconfiguration not only of queer labour but of queer life itself: the social, affective, inter-personal relations around which queer organizing unfolds. Ultimately, rallying queer people’s aspirations in capitalist economies, I argue that queer and lesbian tech CEOs and the corporate LGBTQ+ networking events that spawn them should be read as part of broader CEO-ization of the LGBTQ+ movement, whose interests have become increasingly aligned with those of corporations.

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This chapter builds on the findings presented in the previous chapters to argue in favour of an approach to the politics of diversity that reconciles contemporary corporate investments in queer inclusion with redistributive demands. Drawing from Samuel Delany’s (1999) distinction between ‘networking’ and ‘contact’ in the city, I suggest that diversity politics, in its current neoliberal formulation, works against spaces of queer interclass contact in favour of more sterile queer networking spaces. I also argue that queer activists should care about the disappearance of queer spaces not simply as memories of a riotous past but as spaces of queerness and interclass contact for the future, rejecting claims that doing so is either backwards-looking or mere nostalgia. While the book is critical and pessimistic of diversity politics in its current neoliberal formulation, the stories of the participants featured in the project also reveal that queer subjects remain engaged in various struggles to make their lives more liveable and to acquire resources that enable the successful performance – and, sporadically, resistance to – the various norms and normativities underpinning promises of inclusion.

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