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Radical childhoodsSchooling and the struggle for social change$
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Jessica Gerrard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090219

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090219.001.0001

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‘For the workers’ battles are our battles’1

‘For the workers’ battles are our battles’1

challenges and critiques, internationalism and women’s work

(p.80) 4 ‘For the workers’ battles are our battles’1
Radical childhoods

Jessica Gerrard

Manchester University Press

Chapter four examines how Socialist Sunday Schools (SSSs) negotiated the wider political field, and defended their right to develop educational cultures of socialism for children and young people. This chapter explores the ways in which diverse SSS teachers attempted to express a universal humanity for their students, imbued with understandings of class, gender and race. First, the contested position of SSSs within the broader socialist movement, including the challenges wrought by the emergence of the Communist Party, is examined. Following on from this, second, this chapter explores the wider political contestations that surrounded the SSS movement as the state, and conservative and religious pundits intervened into their practice. Third, the SSS movement's expression of a universal working-class humanity is analysed, focusing in particular at the complex universalising discourses of nature and internationalism in class politics, and the ways in which this both referenced, and obscured, fragmentation and difference in working-class experience. Fourth, through examining SSS curricula and literature as well as the personal experiences of teachers and students, the final section focuses attention on the significant influence of women within the movement, and the gendered nature of SSS work.

Keywords:   communism, socialism, women, gender, education and the state, internationalism, working-class, community-based schooling, nature, children and young people

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