Karagiozis in Australia: Exploring principles of social justice in the arts for young children

Maria Hatzigianni, Melinda Miller, Gloria Quinones

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Abstract

This paper examines Karagiozis - Greek Shadow Puppet theatre for children- as a way to explore how the arts might support socially just education in the early years. As authors from diverse cultural backgrounds with different experiences of arriving and residing in Australia, we consider complimentary and contradictory themes of social justice identified in a Karagiozis play and an interview with a Greek-Australian Karagiozis puppeteer, drawing on Nussbaum's (2000) theories of the Capability Approach. Nussbaum's capabilities align with broad principles of social justice including affiliation (social interaction) and control over one's environment (participation in political choices) ' two recurrent principles in deficit narratives around 'arrivals' in the Australian context. Layered analysis of the data provides a basis for examining: (1) the potential of Karagiozis for exploring social justice themes with young children; and (2) intersections between themes of social justice identified in Karagiozis and circumstances for multicultural groups in the Australian context. This paper builds awareness about the value of employing the Capability Approach as a framework for exploring matters of social justice and contributes to dialogue about the value of the Arts in opening different possibilities for young children's learning and meaning-making about social justice matters in local and global contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Education and the Arts
Volume17
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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