Habitus, Ontology and Misrecognition: Addressing the Issue of Structural Injustice Within the University Context
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This thesis is grounded in the philosophy of education, and is first and foremost an issue-based body of research intended to explore how those of us within the university context can work towards combatting the structural injustice present within the practices and processes of our institutions. I approach this in two stages. In the first stage (Parts 1 and 2), I use the theories of Pierre Bourdieu to explore how structural injustice manifests within the university and how it manages to reproduce itself over time without significant resistance. Part 2 then uses the insights and approaches of critical pedagogy to critique neoliberalism as the dominant philosophy and ideology that shapes the way in which universities function within the wider educational context and shapes (and limits) their institutional habitus. The second stage of the thesis introduces the concepts of secondary habitus, reterritorialisation, and the decolonisation of the mind, as tools to disrupt structural processes and practices of reproduction. It focuses on what is required to address the issue of structural injustice and explores (Part 3) what is required from a student perspective (a transformed individual habitus) and (Part 4) what needs to be addressed in order to transform the institution’s habitus (particularly the combatting of misrecognition). Finally, I propose a model for a transformed institutional habitus that can be used as a starting point for combatting structural injustice within the university context. My major contribution to my field of study has been to construct the twin paradigms of individual and institutional habitus transformation as theoretical models (and both practical and academic starting points) for directly confronting the disadvantaging encountered by many of our university students.