The Politicisation of Compassion: Campaigning for Justice

Halleli Pinson, Madeleine Arnot, Mano Candappa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In previous chapters we explored the many-faceted concept of compassion which the notion of asylum generates at governmental, LEA and school level, and amongst ‘citizen’ students. Different forms of compassion emerged from our empirical data. For example, we have seen government attempts to restrict compassion only to the ‘deserving’ rather than to those seeking asylum. While the schools we researched expressed compassion as sympathy and caring for the whole child irrespective of their political history and civic status, another form of compassion based on humanitarian principles and human rights came through our data. Our research in secondary schools and LEAs suggests that compassion for ASR students, when linked with professional ethics and an inclusive ethos, can move teachers to empathetic personal and pedagogic responses. Schools can value the presence of ASR students as one way of engendering compassion in the community as a whole. They become a resource rather than the problem characterised by the media and by government. However, the policing of immigration control described in Chapter 4 challenges these moral stances and can create the circumstances where compassion becomes overtly political, galvanising schools, teachers and students into political action in the name of social justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation, Asylum and the ‘Non-Citizen’ Child
EditorsHalleli Pinson, Madeleine Arnot, Mano Candappa
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-230-27650-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-35714-7
StatePublished - 2010


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