New Paper: Troubling school toilets: resisting discourses of ‘development’ through a critical disability studies and critical psychology lens

It’s been great to work with Charlotte Jones and Lisa Procter on the second of our school toilet papers, which was published last week in the journal, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. The paper is called Troubling school toilets: resisting discourses of ‘development’ through a critical disability studies and critical psychology lens and I’ve copied the abstract below. I’m working on getting an open access version of this paper online, but for now the link above takes you to the published version, and contact me if you want a free author copy.

Abstract

This paper interrogates how school toilets and ‘school readiness’ are used to assess children against developmental milestones. Such developmental norms both inform school toilet design and practice, and perpetuate normative discourses of childhood as middle-class, white, ‘able’, heteronormative, cissexist and inferior to adulthood. Critical psychology and critical disability studies frame our analysis of conversations from online practitioner forums. We show that school toilets and the norms and ideals of ‘toilet training’ act as one device for Othering those who do not fit into normative Western discourses of ‘childhood’. Furthermore, these idealised discourses of ‘childhood’ reify classed, racialised, gendered and dis/ablist binaries of good/bad parenting. We conclude by suggesting new methodological approaches to school toilet research which resist perpetuating developmental assumptions and prescriptions. In doing this, the paper is the first to explicitly bring school toilet research into the realms of critical psychology and critical disability studies.

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