Three pedagogies of mobility for Australian show people: teaching about, through and towards the questioning of sedentarism

Danaher, Patrick Alan ORCID: and Moriarty, Beverley and Danaher, Geoff (2004) Three pedagogies of mobility for Australian show people: teaching about, through and towards the questioning of sedentarism. Melbourne Studies in Education, 45 (2). pp. 47-66. ISSN 0076-6275

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[Abstract]: Questions concerning the education of mobile groups help to highlight the lived experiences of people otherwise rendered invisible by policy actors. This includes the diverse communities of occupational Travellers – those people who regularly move in order to earn their livelihood. While the category ‘occupational Travellers’ encompasses groups as varied as defence force personnel, specialist teachers and seasonal fruit pickers, the focus here is on the people who travel the agricultural show circuits of Australia to provide the entertainment of ‘sideshow alley’.

Drawing on qualitative research with the Australian show people since 1992, this paper deploys the concept of ‘sedentarism’ to highlight the ambivalently valorised lived experiences and educational opportunities of the show people. In particular, the paper explores the pedagogical and policy implications of efforts to disrupt and transform the marginalising impact of sedentarism, which constructs mobility as the other in relation to fixed residence.

Specifically, it is argued that anti-sedentarism makes possible the identification and interrogation of three distinct pedagogies of mobility pertaining to the show people, revealing differing stances on intersections of mobility and education. The first is teaching about anti-sedentarism, which involves demonstrating the value of the informal learning that takes place on the show circuits so that the show people’s mobility does not throw a negative light on their learning on the run. The second is teaching through anti-sedentarism, which centres on informing non-show people about the lives of show people and their contributions to cultural, economic and social life in Australia. The third is teaching towards anti-sedentarism, entailing the mapping and valuing of multiple forms of mobility.

The paper considers implications for policy actions of these three pedagogies of mobility about and for the Australian show people. These implications are identified through the lens of assumptions underpinning the current Commonwealth Government policy statement on student mobility. The argument is that the evidence from the show people’s experiences suggests that pedagogies of mobility represent one among several possible ways forward in pursuing anti-sedentarism and in imagining anew traditional education for contemporary mobile learners.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version deposited with permission of publisher. “This is an electronic version of an article published in the Critical Studies in Education © 2004 Copyright Taylor and Francis; Critical Studies in Education is available online at (Journal title renamed in 2007 from Melbourne Studies in Education to Critical Studies in Education.)
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 01:01
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 01:48
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; mobility; pedagogies; sedentarism; show people
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160506 Education Policy
16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3902 Education policy, sociology and philosophy > 390201 Education policy
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390409 Learning sciences

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