Challenging heterotopic space: a study of the Queensland school for travelling show children

Danaher, Geoff and Moriarty, Beverley and Danaher, Patrick Alan ORCID: (2006) Challenging heterotopic space: a study of the Queensland school for travelling show children. Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development, 3 (1). pp. 40-51. ISSN 1832-2050

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Michel Foucault’s (1995) work on the distribution of people, discourses and objects within geographical and institutional spaces has provided an important insight into our understanding of the emergence of contemporary society. Foucault’s substantive studies of prisons and medical and psychiatric institutions have been acutely attuned to the ways in which spaces are negotiated and lived through. Rather than conceive of relations of power or abstract ideas about social organisations as being imposed from above upon certain institutional and geographical spaces, Foucault was instead interested in ‘spaces of dispersion’ where different bodies, social forces and ways of life come into contact with one another. In particular, Foucault’s concept of heterotopia (Faubion, 1998) is geared towards considering the effects of radically different social spaces coming into contact with one another.

This paper applies Foucault’s (1995) thinking about space to the experiences of the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children. While the movement of the agricultural show circuits throughout metropolitan and regional Australia has historically been significant in fostering relationships between town and country and between residential and mobile communities, the establishment in 2000 of a dedicated school to accompany these circuits has added another dimension to that relationship. Some of the authors’ qualitative data gathered in 2003 from semi-structured interviews with teachers, educational officials, parents and students are deployed to delineate the complex ways in which the school challenges received understandings of both geographical and social space.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: The journal states that 'Copyright of articles is retained by authors. As an open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.'
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:52
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: Michel Foucault, heterotopia, Queensland school for travelling show children, space
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160809 Sociology of Education
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3902 Education policy, sociology and philosophy > 390203 Sociology of education
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390304 Primary education

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