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ERIC Number: EJ939319
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0159-6306
Knowledge, Narrative and National Reconciliation: Storied Reflections on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Walker, Melanie; Unterhalter, Elaine
Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, v25 n2 p279-297 2004
This paper considers the educational work that narrative does. Against the context of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission that examined the crimes of apartheid, it discusses the narrative implications of South African poet Antjie Krog's multi-layered text of Truth Commission testimony, and autobiographical and philosophical musings. The paper argues that narrative points to education in four ways. The first involves research practices in which subjectivity and experience are acknowledged, celebrated and recognized to be powerful and compelling, allowing us to learn moral truths. Secondly, narrative can be utilised as part of a pedagogy of care, compassion and concern in which we ask questions regarding what it means to be taught by the lives of others, and how stories that are not our own speak to those we already have, enabling us to learn how to act morally through others' experiences. The third aspect of narrative is then the identity work it enables, offering the possibility for the reconstruction of the learning "I", inflecting away from past perspectives to new ways of seeing. Through listening to others we might produce more accountable and more responsible knowledge. Fourthly, we explore how narratives might produce trustworthy accounts in which evidence is not endlessly plastic, but where the narrative form enlarges the scope for understanding. Throughout we show that individual and collective narratives are played out on a structural field, embedded in the political, social and historical conditions of a racial and gendered power, with real material effects. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa