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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reconstituting the democratic subject: sexuality, schooling, and citizenship

  • Author(s): Rhoads, RA
  • Calderone, SM
  • et al.

In this review essay, Robert Rhoads and Shannon Calderone consider how liberalism, as a guiding principle for school practices and educational policy making, reinforces heteronormativity through a doctrine of professed neutrality that circumscribes sexual expression and subjectivity. Through an analysis of Carol Vincent's Social Justice, Education, and Identity; Cris Mayo's Disputing the Subject of Sex: Sexuality and Public School Controversies; and Susan Birden's Rethinking Sexual Identity in Education, Rhoads and Calderone argue that the form of liberalism espoused by schools operates in contradiction to any pluralistic democratic project emphasizing social justice and inclusion of the "other." By highlighting the discursive contradictions and structural conditions of schools that lead to the marginalization and disenfranchisement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer students, each book proposes alternative forms of educational praxis that attempt to disrupt the liberal status quo of schools. Such praxis, Rhoads and Calderone argue, offers possibilities for new forms of democratic organization within schools that conform with a more robust and inclusive notion of citizenship. © 2007 Board of Trustees.

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