Mobilizing Anger for Social Justice: The politicization of the emotions in education

Mar. 15, 2007

Source: Teaching Education, Volume 18, Issue 1 March 2007, pages 15 – 28

In this paper, the author uses feminist and poststructuralist discourses to suggest that the politicization of anger in education is not only inevitable but also desirable. In particular, an analysis of anger in education may offer certain critical advantages, including a better understanding of the importance of being angry in political terms.

As various educational approaches nowadays seek indiscriminately to silence anger in the name of 'emotional intelligence' - and thus, de-politicizing it - an attention to the political aspects of emotions in education is extremely valuable. Thus, the author argues that emotions, and particularly anger, are central to the exercise of power relations in the classroom, and challenge the dominance of instrumental/rational accounts about anger replacing them with the recognition of anger as political.
Also, the author clarifies some of the conditions that generate angry feelings as ambivalence and explore the transformative possibilities that this ambivalence creates. This work is important because there has been little attention to anger in relation to educational politics and social justice education.

Updated: Feb. 26, 2008