This paper offers a critique of transnational aspects of ‘inclusion,’ one of those global education buzzwords that as Slee (2009) puts it, say everything but say nothing. It starts off by trying to compare Indian and English usages and attitudes at the level of teacher discourse, and notes the impossibility of any ‘authentic’ translation, given the very different cultural contexts and histories. In response to these divergences, the authors undertake a much more genealogical and ‘forensic’ examination of values associated with ‘inclusion,’ focussing especially on a key notion of ‘pity.’ The Eurocentric tradition is traced from its Platonic origins through what is claimed to be the ‘industrialization of pity’ and its rejection as a virtue in favour of more apparently egalitarian measures of fairness. The Indian tradition relates rather to religious traditions across a number of different belief systems, most of which centre on some version of a karmic notion of pity. The authors both criticise and reject ‘inclusion’ as a colonisation of the global and call for a new understanding of notions like ‘pity’ as affective commitment rather than ‘fair’ dispensation of equality.
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