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Arie Kizel (Haifa/Israel)#

Enabling Identity: Presenting the Silenced Voices of Repressed Groups in Philosophic Communities of Inquiry#

This lecture will focus on a theoretical conceptualization of the term Enabling Identity trough the framework of Community of Philosophical Inquiry (Kizel, 2016). Enabling Identity seeks to endow a voice for children and adolescents from repressed groups by challenging the mainstream hegemonic discourse that governs the reality where Communities of Philosophical Inquiry operate.

The lecture will present a three-phase theoretical model, which depicts this enabling while relying on narrative theory (Sarbin, 1986; Riessman, 1993; Solis, 2004) as well as on the philosophical and dialogical work of Paulo Freire (1970, 1973) and Emmanuel Levinas (2003). Their philosophies will underpin the model's fundamental concepts.

This model presents three phases. During the first phase, the repressed voice challenges the hegemonic mainstream discourse. During this phase, the Community of Philosophical Inquiry requires certain dialogical tools that will enable practices that are underpinned by such concepts as the right to be heard, courage and equality.

At the second phase, the repressed voice will seek to dissolve the boundaries of the hegemonic discourse and will challenge its centrality and the seemingly unshakeable legitimacy of this centrality. During the process of the third phase, the two narratives—the hegemonic and the repressed—are coexisting in dialogue and in atmosphere of cooperation, empathy and mutual acquaintance, but also mutual legitimacy. At this phase, the presence of the two narratives becomes clear not just symbolically but also essentially. Therefore, the existence of this phase and in fact all phases require a democratic atmosphere and an interpretation of the concept social compromise which concedes neither group nor individual identity.

The integration of frameworks offered by narrative theory into Communities of Philosophical Inquiry, and vice versa, enables the creation of an enriching pedagogic space that: (i) theoretically legitimizes multiple narratives, (ii) allows children and teachers the freedom to engage in self-construction (iii), and uses narrative to recognize and go beyond their existing constructions and boundaries. This blending is of particular importance in multicultural societies in which the dialogue between narratives forms the basis for the existence of what Lipman calls "autonomy and self-government" (1991: 72).