Panel G.11 — Nonviolence in education for social justice

Convenors Francesca Ursula Bitetto (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy; Gabriella Falcicchio (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy); Luisa Santelli (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy); Enrico Euli (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy); Emanuele Profumi (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy); Daniele Taurino (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy)

Keywords Nonviolence, education, social justice, inequalities, rights


Social justice is today increasingly undermined by inequalities, conflicts, climate change and economic crises. Within this context of polycrises, education could be a democratic tool for social emancipation and improvement of life chances. But education can take on different meanings by virtue of the symbolic universes that fuel it by attributing specific purposes to the educational action. This panel intends to explore the close link between education and nonviolence (Capitini, Educazione aperta, 2 voll., 1967-68; Jean-Marie Muller, Non-violence in education, 2002; Falcicchio, L’atto atomico della nonviolenza, 2022). The emphasis on competition and individualism has repercussions in social life. Solidarity, cooperation, community are placed on the margins. Nonviolence is a concrete possibility of achieving coexistence with others, making peace among humans and with the planet (Alexander Langer, Fare pace, 2005). Listening, dialogue and mutual understanding temper opposing fundamentalisms, stereotypes and prejudicial closures. In our relationship with others, we can get involved or close ourselves into defensive approaches fostering polarization or doing something else to break the circle of violence.

Governance disposals in education tend to separate deserving and undeserving minors, to be rewarded or punished, ending up reproducing educational inequalities and recognizing rights to some while depriving others of opportunities and trust. Surveillance and punish or educate about rights, freedom, nonviolence? Freedom does not have the same meaning for all men if to have rights it is necessary to be strong (Resta, Poteri e diritti, 1996; Rodotà, Il diritto di avere diritti, 2013).

While the war grammar and propaganda invade the media and influence policies, any alternative and non-dichotomous point of view is silenced, reduced to ridicule and marginality. It is precisely at this moment that a choral reflection on how to change the rules of language, of domination, of success, and to resume considering as values what the dominant thought continues to consider as waste, collateral victims, minor damage, becomes urgent (Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence: an Ethico-Political Bind, 2020). Expulsions, stigmatisation, rejections, deaths caused by retaliation, violence, cannot be justified and normalised. The world we know has shown its faults and responsibilities that urge us to new rules and new meanings and alternative possibilities of life for all, including the possibility of nonviolent struggle against social injustice and discrimination (Falcicchio, Taurino, I corpi civili di pace, 2023).

The panel therefore sets out to add its collective contribution to this reflection, going to the roots of the interconnections between education to and for nonviolence with the foundations of justice, democracy, power, ecology (Langer, Il viaggiatore leggero, 1996) and civil defence (Langer, Gülcher, Per la creazione di un corpo civile di pace dell’ONU e dell’Unione Europea, 1995; Lawson, Honey, Wong, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Organizing Freedom, 2022).

(Contributions: Nonviolent games-practical exercises, Education is nonviolence, Educating to fight for a just society: the contribution of the nonviolent tradition in the surveillance society, On the presuppositions of social justice: the pedagogy of art as nonviolent power, Antimilitarism and climate disarmament: a school of nonviolence against intergenerational injustices, Supervise and punish or educate to nonviolence?)


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