The place of individual spirituality in the pedagogy of discomfort and resistance

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


The overpowering whiteness of everything is a process of erasure that has its historical genesis and contemporary perpetration in colonisation practices; whitewashing history and current events in order to rub out the subtleties of oppression on so many levels. For me as M¯aori, reactions to this process are juxtaposed between feelings of discomfort and resistance, especially to the all-encompassing colonizing term of ‘Indigenous.’ AudreLord (1984)wrote, “I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you” (n.p.). An overwhelming sense of despair is evident in the above refrain, but there is also a pedagogy of hope that comes from a galvanizing depth of social positioning and action. Is the source a mark of individual spirituality, perhaps? Through a pedagogy of discomfort and a dichotomous Maori-Indigenous resistance lens, the presence and resilience of spirituality is found across different layers of cultural tacit and explicit behaviours. This chapter highlights a contextual space for preparing social work students with just those layers of cultural behaviours; to start developing practice awareness that incorporates inner peace and well-being. These tenets are central to the core of what the profession needs in order to survive, but this context involves both personal and political insights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Aboriginal cultural competence
Subtitle of host publicationAuthentic approaches
EditorsBarbara Hill, Jillene Harris, Ruth Bacchus
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789811572012
ISBN (Print)9789811572005
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020


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