Under models of moral and global citizenship education, compassion and caring are emphasized as a counterpoint to pervasive, heartless, neo-liberal globalization. According to such views, these and related emotions such as empathy, sympathy, and pity, can cause people to act righteously to aid others who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own. When applied to the contemporary issue of alleviating child poverty, it seems such emotions are both appropriate and easily developed through education. However, emotional appeals increasing a sense of urgency regarding such a dire issue should not necessarily be prioritized in the face of competing possibilities. Emotions can be difficult to develop, regulate, and sustain. Their appropriate expression and application in global contexts can be problematic, as people’s valuation and understanding of feelings varies across societies. Additionally, there are tensions between discourses of emotional care and compassion and rational duty to social justice. This article examines competing views on education for understanding and responding to child poverty, and defends post-humanitarian imaginaries and the possibility of non-relational care ethics. Care, compassion, empathy, and emotion may be involved in learning about child poverty, but an a priori rational orientation is also essential in such grave matters of social injustice. Copyright © 2014 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.
CitationJackson, L. (2014). ‘Won’t somebody Think of the children?’ Emotions, child poverty, and post-humanitarian possibilities for social justice education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(9), 1069-1081. doi: 10.1080/00131857.2014.931430
- Social justice
- Moral education
- Global citizenship