Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

A Cultural Political Economy of School Desegregation in Seattle


by Michael J. Dumas — 2011

Background/Context: School desegregation has been variably conceptualized as a remedy for racial injustice, a means toward urban (economic) revitalization, an opportunity to celebrate human diversity, and an attempt to more equally distribute educational resources. At the center of the debate over the years is the extent to which school desegregation is a matter of class or race, of redistribution or recognition. A cultural political economy of school desegregation begins with a rejection of the popular notion that desegregation is simply, or even primarily, about race. It also eschews the idea that what is needed is a “corrective” interjection of social class and economic justice. In proposing neither a racial nor an economic solution, cultural political economy sheds doubt on the very proposition of a “racial” or “economic” analysis, politics, or remedy and helps us more powerfully explain how the cultural and material force of race and class breathes as one through the historical-political trajectory of school desegregation.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article is based on findings from a larger historical-ethnographic research project intended to explicate the cultural-ideological and structural context(s) within which Seattle’s Black leaders, educators, and activists made sense of the relationship between school desegregation and the lives and liberation of Black people in the post-civil-rights era. Here, the author uses cultural political economy as an analytical framework to elucidate the relationship(s) between cultural productions such as the construction of rights, justice, and racial progress, and political-economic formations such as the (ab)use of the state and market by certain classes—in this case, middle-class and affluent White Seattleites—to preserve their own privilege through the implementation of social and educational policies that serve to reproduce material inequities.

Setting: The study setting is Seattle, Washington.

Population/Participants: Black leaders, educators, and activists who participated in the school desegregation struggle in the city of Seattle from the mid-1970s through 2007.

Research Design: This study employed semistructured ethnographic interviews, content analysis, and historical/archival analysis.

Conclusion/Recommendations: The trajectory of school desegregation politics in Seattle, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, reveals a long and systematic political effort to delegitimize and dismantle justice-oriented redistribution of educational resources along racial lines. Cultural political economy provides an analytical framework that contributes to our theoretical understanding of the interimbrication of culture and political economy in education politics and policy-making. The author argues that understanding the interimbrication of class and race in the politics of school desegregation allows us to more clearly theorize how school desegregation policies are undermined in ways that reproduce material and cultural relations of power. Ultimately, critical researchers, educators, and youth and community activists must develop political strategies to shift the very relations of power highlighted in the Seattle case.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase A Cultural Political Economy of School Desegregation in Seattle
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $20 is available for a limited time.
$20
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$145


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 4, 2011, p. 703-734
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15970, Date Accessed: 11/24/2014 9:57:13 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools

Related Media


Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Michael Dumas
    California State University, Long Beach
    MICHAEL J. DUMAS is assistant professor of social and cultural analysis of education and also teaches in the doctoral program in educational leadership at California State University, Long Beach. His research focuses on the cultural politics of Black education, redistributive justice, and urban educational policy discourse. His recent publications include “‘How do we get dictionaries at Cleveland?’: Theorizing Redistribution and Recognition in Educational Research” in Theory and Educational Research (Jean Anyon, ed.) and “What Is This ‘Black’ in Black Education? Imagining a Cultural Politics Without Guarantees,” in Handbook of Cultural Politics and Education (Zeus Leonardo, ed.).
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS