PRE-CALL: Education, Gender and Migration

Education, Gender and Migration:

Opportunities and Threats in a context of Increasing Online Hate Speech

Paris, September 17-18, 2020



While the end of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were characterized by industrial capitalism and nationalism, which entailed long deadly conflicts on a world scale, the twenty-first century is, in turn, challenged by the largest migratory transnational movements (Wihtol de Wenden, 2018). In this global context marked by increasing international migrations in relation with terrorism, various conflicts, environmental disasters etc., democratic societies are challenged on their capacity to ensure the universal right to education (proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26.1), adequate schooling conditions and success for all children. According to UNESCO, 15% of children in the world were still out of primary school in 2000, even though this figure was 9% in 2014 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). In the same way, we have to remember that girls, persons with disabilities and children in zones affected by conflict are the most likely to be out of school (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNESCO eAtlas on Out-of-School Children and Youth, UNICEF, 2016).

In addition, we can notice important societal changes in some parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean area, Central America (even more than South America), the southern border of the United States with Mexico among others, which moved from being lands welcoming migrant or exiled people to lands producing low-paid migrant workers, sometimes the opposite, and these changes occurred in just a few years (Wihtol de Wenden 2013, 2017, 2018).

The inclusion project challenged by inequalities in education

In general, the challenges of inclusive education for all, which was reaffirmed by international bodies in the last century, were broadly translated into educational policies aimed at greater inclusiveness and inclusivity. But the new geopolitical situation and the new massive displacements compromise many struggles for the access of all to school, though often compulsory. Despite the democratization of schools and the widening of access to secondary education, high school and university for working class people (in Western societies in particular), these inclusion policies have indeed been accompanied by a reconfiguration of school inequalities (Duru-Bellat & Kieffer, 2008, Merle, 2002, CNESCO, 2016, Felouzis & Fouquet-Chauprade, 2015), in a context of school massification, growth / diversification of migratory flows and global swarming of the neoliberal mode of school governance (Laval et al., 2011). In this movement, the exclusion of the most vulnerable can sometimes be combined with the difficult access of some migrants to new technologies that allow them, for example, to learn a new language, to geolocate themselves via a smartphone, or to access various other services useful for their social integration.

In total, if the twentieth century established education as a universal right and a freedom, the twenty-first century continues to question this right in interstitial spaces (exceptional spaces, zones of conflicts, refugee camps…) where it would be threatened while reaffirming education more than ever as a necessity (Chelpi-den Hamer et al., 2010). The economic integration of the person, regardless of gender, geographical, social or religious origin, henceforth underlies national and international initiatives. However, the exclusion of the most vulnerable is still going on. This exclusion expresses itself at the crossroads of different social relationships and is expressed in multiple forms of racist, homophobic, or anti-LGBTQI inequalities, racism and / or discrimination, now captured and highlighted by a lot of research, including qualitative (Bartlett, Rodríguez & Oliveira, 2015 ; Fournier et al., 2018 ; Patterson & Leurs, 2019…). Better still, these inequalities and exclusions espouse multiple paths and especially increasingly sophisticated operating procedures, like online hate speech.

The inclusion project challenged by increasing online hate speech

From this point of view, both in Europe and in Latin America, but also in other parts of the world, the Internet and social networks spread rumors and infox, by targeting for example, and particularly, the denigration of Gender studies (Kuhar & Paternotte, 2018, Gallot & Pasquier, 2018). Let us mention one of the darkest aspects of these new spaces, which have become places of expression and dissemination of xenophobic, racist, (hetero)sexist hate speeches or also against gender or sexual minorities.

Fueled by technological innovation, these aggressions and methods of a new kind, such as cybersexism (Ikiz, 2018 ; Couchot-Schiex, Moignard & Richard, 2016), act as a category of power used to disqualify social networks, any form of mobilization or movement of emancipation and empowerment of minority groups. More broadly, they serve political manoeuvres, as we have seen through the dissemination of fake news during the recent presidential election campaigns in 2016 in the US, in 2017 in France, or even in 2018 in Brazil (for example, the rumour of the distribution of a “Gay Kit” to primary/elementary school children, etc.).

These phenomena give rise to concern on the part of public authorities in Europe or international organizations, regarding the dissemination of hate speech online, as illustrated by the publication in 2017 of a book supported by the Council of Europe entitled: Taking Action against Hate Speech through Counter and Alternative Narratives. In France, the legislation reinforces the training of teachers and educators as well as students in the fight against online hate speech, through the proposal of a “online hate speech law”.

In the United States, inspired by Paulo Freire and bell hooks, but also Douglas Kellner and Jeff Share, a critical media pedagogy was developed. Teacher Education Program at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) illustrates this approach, as well as some initiatives such as the Critical Media Project. This perspective focuses on how socially privileged or, on the contrary, socially discriminated groups are represented in the media. It describes more broadly how the media can contribute to hate speech.

Critical pedagogy and the contemporary challenges

 Two decades after the Second Paulo Freire Forum International Meeting on “Paulo Freire’s Method and New Technologies” (2000), the moment seems opportune to rethink Freire in a context of transition from web 1.0 to 2.0, based on a reflection on the opportunities and threats that this context represents in terms of inclusive education (migrants, people of all gender, sexualities, racialized social groups, people considered vulnerable, prevented from accessing to education or training …).

The expected proposals may represent different territories and fields, practices and analyzes attempting to answer some of the following questions:


– How can critical pedagogy, inspired by Paulo Freire, inspire all new forms of education, whether it is an anti-patriarchal gender education, a sustainable eco-citizenship education, a critical and sustainable media and information literacy education etc.? What is the legacy of an adapted critical pedagogy?

– What contributions of Freirian pedagogy in front of online hate speech?

– What opportunities for Freirian thinking in the international co-regulation relating to inclusive education?

– What critical pedagogies for which responsibilities in the era of the so-called integral university (Lison, 2019), also in the Anthropo/Capitalo/Cene era? What “ethical vigilances” for screen education?


– Does education in the “Cyber” era pursue a banking education project 3.0, under 5G? Would the Internet be a more favourable tool for transnational and transmedia banking education?

– Does the smart paradigm (phone, cities…) give room for a critical pedagogy or would it be one of the many firewalls to critical thinking?

– Educators without borders or borders without education, what geopolitics of oppression through exclusion?


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