Distress in the city : racism, fundamentalism and a democratic education

Tony Brown

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First the Global Financial Crisis led to the deep austerity imposed on Greece, Spain and Italy and the appointment of EU administrators over the heads of elected governments in those countries. In this environment racism and fundamentalism have had 'stronger purchase', and the Labour Party, which had traditionally held such sway in local politics lost touch and then support, such that the neo-Nazi British National Party (BNP) won seats on the city council in 2009. The independent self-help tradition that had been such a strength of British workers education and organisation withered as the WEA and the Wedgewood Memorial College were forced to close, and the City and County Councils cut funding as they opened public provision to private providers, as education for a narrowly conceived labour market was prioritised above other areas such as citizenship education. In these chapters we hear the voices of white working class residents and their experiences of 'the State withdrawing from the(ir) estate'; members of the predominantly Muslim South Asian local population and their experience of fundamentalism within the community; and participants in local adult and workers' education centres as a means of understanding the importance it has played in personal transformation through 'evoking fundamental questions of who a person felt themselves to be, and who they might become'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-535
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Adult Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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