Agency and Dependence

By: Roseann Lydia Kerr  

Are we holding on to assumptions that are supporting a system which perpetuates inequality? Through the lens of the de-schooling movement this paper questions the assumption of schooling as a universal good and explores the role of schooling in the underdevelopment of agency in the North American context. The theories of John Holt, Paulo Friere, and Ivan Illich are used to examine the role of our institutions in the development of the expert and a mistrust in the capacity of ordinary people. Within the context of modern poverty in Canada, parallels are found between the cycle of shame perpetuated by the Food Charity Model and the institutionalization of what Friere calls false generosity. How can we as intellectuals/experts challenge ourselves to consider philosophies that may provide insight into contemporary issues? Counter examples of hope in practice are presented in the form of Community Action Training facilitated through Community Food Centres Canada, as well as internationally, in the form of farmer-to-farmer pedagogical practices of the small scale sustainable agriculture movement, La Via Campesina.

"De-schooling", " Agency", " Modern Poverty"
Civic, Political, and Community Studies
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Roseann Lydia Kerr

PhD Student, Faculty of Education, Queen's University, Canada
Ontario, Canada

Roseann (Rosie) Kerr is a PhD student at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. She has a Master’s in Education from Queen’s University where she focused on the perspectives of youth in experiential education programming. Rosie has a multidisciplinary background including studying and working in Fine Arts, Marine Biology and Curriculum Development of Youth Leadership and Arts Programming. Most recently, she has been working in Adult Food Literacy Education for The Table Community Food Centre in Perth, Ontario, developing and running cooking programs for adults and families living on low incomes. Her research explores how experiential learning can support positive personal and social development. More recently, she has examined the relationship between food literacy and food insecurity.