Mentoring as a Model of Resistance in Times of Austerity

Bronwen Maxwell, Vicky Duckworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Teacher mentoring training offered by higher education institutions has the potential to expose critical spaces within which mentors can learn to play significant roles as advocates for social justice. Through taking on such roles mentors can empower their students to also become social justice advocates who in turn empower their own communities. Drawing on a review of literature this chapter explores the empowering flow of transformational models of mentoring for challenging inequity. This affirmative model of mentoring supports individuals and challenges the inter-generational impact of austerities by reaching into and across communities with socially just models based on values of respect, inclusion, healing, equity, care and social justice. We argue that the dominant neo-liberal discourse marginalises education for social justice. Symbolic meanings of neo-liberalism expose the discriminatory landscape of capitalism, which focuses on individual responsibility and morality and fails to address structural inequalities, for example, gender, class and ethnicity. Against this reductive landscape Bourdieu’s (The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258). New York: Greenwood Press, 1986) theoretical model offers the means to explore mentors’ (and learners’) practices in the education field and demonstrates how the flow of different forms of capital (described by Bourdieu as economic, social, cultural and symbolic) can lead to social justice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMentoring in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationCase Studies of Peer Learning and Pedagogical Development
EditorsClare Woolhouse
PublisherSpringer International Publishing Switzerland
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030468903
ISBN (Print)9783030468897
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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