How has corporal punishment in Nepalese schools impacted upon learners' lives?

Pathak, Khum Raj (2017) How has corporal punishment in Nepalese schools impacted upon learners' lives? Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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This study explores how the corporal punishment experienced by learners in Nepalese schools can impact upon multiple aspects of their lives. I examine how these short and long-term effects can extend into adulthood using an auto/biographical methodology; from a perspective influenced by my own encounters as a corporal punishment survivor from Nepal.

Corporal punishment continues to be used in Nepalese schools, with the support of many teachers, parents and school management committees, despite several government policy initiatives and court rulings against it. In contrast to worldwide developments (notably in Scandinavia and America), research into corporal punishment in Nepal tends to be rare, quantitative and focused upon the prevalence and short-term effects as described by group participants and newspaper articles. This study addresses the urgent need to increase public awareness, using personal accounts describing the long-term outcomes of corporal punishment, with a depth of detail facilitated by an auto/biographical research methodology. Participants in the study expressed feelings of relief and increased self-understanding, although for myself at least, these were accompanied by feelings of grief and confusion.

The lives of five corporal punishment survivors are explored through a series of interviews carried out in the Devchuli municipality of Nawalparasi, Nepal, between November 2015 and January 2016. The first is my own story, the second is a pilot interview and the other three are discussed under the themes of immediate compliance, severing dichotomies, disempowered bodies and the spiritual threat of spatio-temporal appropriation.

The participants, whose identities are protected, look back, as adults, upon their experiences of corporal punishment at school and consider possible links between these and their current social, political, economic and spiritual challenges. Simultaneously, the study questions whether ‘effects’ can ever be conceptually or temporally contained within ‘multi-faceted’ and ‘becoming’ identities, using examples from the participants’ self-appraisals.

I examine literature from the global debate on the effects of corporal punishment upon children, including the contrasting methodologies of Murray Straus, Alice Miller and Elizabeth Gershoff. The impact of corporal punishment upon notions of personhood is explored using Theodor Adorno’s interpretation of reification and comparable notions of objectification challenged by Andrea Dworkin, Martha Nussbaum and Paolo Freire. Corporal punishment is discussed in relation to power, conflict and the Holocaust, using Adorno and Bauman’s descriptions of authoritarian behaviours and immediate compliance, and Nietzsche and Foucault’s notions of punishment as a spectacle. Conditions for the possibility of corporal punishment are located to traditions deifying teachers, judgement-based belief systems and neo-liberal ideologies of competition and performativity. These are contrasted with alternative, non-punitive pedagogical and theological resources. Participants explore the ways in which healing and holistic self-development can be blocked by everyday vocabularies of violence and conditionality, triggering destructive individual and collective over-determined reactions.

My study ‘concludes’ with reflections upon how corporal punishment has affected my participants’ lives: with their social roles hampered by defensive masks and evasive dances; their political lives blocked by fears of punishment; their economic lives stilted by caution and low self-esteem and their spiritual lives distorted by disenchantment and disappointment. Methodology and theory converge as my study rejects inherently disciplinarian, Enlightenment-led demands fo**r rational or scientific ‘proof’ of psychological effects, by presenting auto/biography itself, especially ‘child-standpoint’ narratives, as valid revolutionary praxis, effervescent with resistance to punitive ideologies and practices and dedicated to the liberation of our present from a painful past.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0660 History and principles of religions > BL1000 Asian. Oriental
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0660 History and principles of religions
L Education > LA History of education > LA0410 Other regions or countries > LA1154 Nepal
Divisions: Faculty of Education > School of Teacher Education and Development
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2018 09:37
Last Modified: 30 May 2018 16:42

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00