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Obama and the ‘Arab Spring’: desire, hope and the manufacture of disappointment. Implications for a transformative pedagogy

Roberts, Lorna and Schostak, John (2012) Obama and the ‘Arab Spring’: desire, hope and the manufacture of disappointment. Implications for a transformative pedagogy. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 33 (3). 377-396.. ISSN 1469-3739

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Abstract

For a period, in the run up to the election (2007–2008) and the months after the election, the name ‘Obama’ signified hope for millions, not just in America but across the world. As the hope turned to disappointment, the financial crisis deepened and the Arab Spring renewed a call for a ‘humanity’ that could transcend the differences of nations and faiths. What can be learnt from such events about the pedagogies of hope, disappointment and public action? Are there lessons for a transformative pedagogy, an education that could underpin and continuously create the conditions for a politics of freedom and social justice? A range of print, broadcast and digital/Internet news media is analysed to explore the political/rhetorical/pedagogical strategies already set into play that ‘manufacture disappointment’ in order to undermine and negate the transformative, transgressive symbolic significance of ‘Obama’ and thus manage the theme of change to reassert the same.

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