“We’ll get politics out of the classroom”: A critical discourse analysis and autoethnography exploring discourses of neutrality in and around the high school Social Studies curriculum in Alberta

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University of New Brunswick


Through this study, I draw on Critical Discourse Analysis and autoethnography to examine the implications of educational discourses which position Alberta's grade 10-12 Social Studies curriculum as apolitical. This work is timely and vital in Alberta at this moment, as widespread government focus on “removing politics from education” attempts to position curriculum as neutral. This research disrupts this discourse by showing how it conceals the workings of power and maintains inequities in schools. I draw on Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to examine the Social Studies curriculum and engage in an autoethnographic account of my planning process in response to emerging discourses revealed by my CDA. Together, these methodologies illustrate how political and cultural ideologies affect the curriculum and thus teacher praxis, reinforcing inequitable social power structures. This study establishes a framework for considering how critical theories and pedagogies may contribute to the development of more inclusive curricula and classrooms.