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    Opaque reciprocity: or theorising Glissant’s ‘right to opacity’ as a communication and language praxis in early childhood education

    Shannon, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7642-0667 and Hackett, Abigail (2023) Opaque reciprocity: or theorising Glissant’s ‘right to opacity’ as a communication and language praxis in early childhood education. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. ISSN 0159-6306

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    Abstract

    In this article, the authors argue for what Édouard Glissant terms the ‘right to opacity’ in teaching and assessing communication and language skills in early childhood education (ECE). We draw from Glissant’s writing on Relation, and his interrelated concepts of ‘opacity’ and ‘transparency’, to consider two vignettes from sensory ethnographic research conducted in ECE settings: a special education classroom and a nursery. We contest the international emphasis on efficiency, clarity, and rationality in ECE communication and language provision as one informed by colonial and ableist logics of ‘transparency’. Instead, we argue for an attention to moments of what we call ‘opaque reciprocity’: of (1) non-dyadic, non-developmentalist, more-than-human exchange, within which (2) authorship becomes distributed inter-subjectively, thereby (3) de-emphasising efficient, clear, and rational notions of meaning-making.

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