The Disgusted Notice the Disgusting: Being Homeless and the Sullied Schooling of the Street


  • Frances Atherton University of Chester


Educational alternatives, progressive education, alternative education, difference, educational theory, educational philosophy, home education, education policy


The brutality of life on the street is explored in this paper with a young homeless couple and the ragged community of which they are a part. Destitution, prostitution, drugs and crime sculpt their lives and identify them as the symbolic edge of society, the boundary of civilisation, at the cultural margins, where subsistence is in a state of decomposition. Deserving of adversity? Theirs is a bordered being which seems to inspire a remarkable fortitude. They defy their abjected state with a Nietzschean determination for a kind of redemption in this life. Paradoxically, however damaged and broken their lives, however pitilessly rejection is dealt to them, however ravaged they are by what I would describe as the education of the street; this bleak place is often suffused with tenderness and compassion, intensely enacted and understood. How these moments variously unfold, frequently in searingly public places, is offered here and affords a glimpse of a life few could endure.


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