Social Science and Public Policy

Richard Freeman

Doing politics, teaching politics

Doing politics, teaching politics: towards a collaborative case-based pedagogy

Darcy Leigh and Richard Freeman

In this paper we propose collaborative case-based pedagogy as a way of teaching practice-based and micro-sociological approaches to politics. We do this through a case-study of our own teaching: a course we developed titled ‘doing politics’. Rather than deliver abstract theories of politics as practice, we invited students to engage in practice first and to explore their own meanings of politics in this way. We facilitated their engagement with the everyday materials and practices of politics via ethnographic case-studies and their own encounters with political worlds and actors. This, we suggest, is a way to reconfigure the politics classroom in response to our growing understanding of politics as an everyday and contingent ‘doing’. ‘Knowing’, after all, is a sort of ‘doing’: collaborative case-based pedagogy enables students to know and to learn in the same dynamic and often indeterminate way that politics is done.
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