The article examines how blame and disconnection from the lives of the poor feature in a nexus of ideas about implementing education policy articulated by education officials and teachers in Kenya. Three different approaches to understanding marginality are distinguished, each associated with a different process of setting a boundary concerning the marginalised. This differentiation is used to analyse qualitative data collected between 2007 and 2011 in three sites – a school, a provincial education department, and the national education ministry. Analysis shows how work practices in all sites entail processes of distancing and exclusion which confirm the boundaries associated with marginalisation, rather than overcoming them. We conclude on the need to pay attention to shifting cultural perceptions concerning the marginalised, opening educational opportunities for officials and teachers to examine their presuppositions, and making space for the poor and the marginal to engage politically and culturally in developing inclusion and social justice in schools.
Unterhalter, E.; Yates, C.; Makinda, H.; North, A. Blaming the poor: constructions of marginality and poverty in the Kenyan education sector. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education (2012) 42 (2) 213-233. [DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2012.652386]