This book - the finale in a trilogy by the authors - traces the way in which a number of disadvantaged schools and communities were able to move beyond deficit, victim-blaming and pathologizing approaches and access resources of trust, relationships, connectedness and hope. It describes how these Australian schools and communities were able to benefit from working with 'street-level' bureaucrats who had reinvented themselves around notions of socially just forms of capacity-building. The book provides a set of insights into what is possible from a critical engagement for school and community renewal perspective, by working with the resources that exist within disadvantaged contexts, even in damaging neoliberal policy times.
It may seem something of a paradox that in a globalised age where notions of interdependence, interconnectedness and common destinies abound, the 'local', with its diversity of cultures, languages, histories and geographies, continues to exercise a powerful grip on the human imagination. The ties that bind us have global connections but are anchored in a strong sense of locality. This paper explores the theoretical foundations of place-based education (PBE) and considers the merits and limitations of current approaches with particular reference to Australian studies. The authors argue that there is a place for PBE in schools but contend that it must be informed by a far more critical reading of the notions of 'place', 'identity' and 'community'. The implications of pursuing a critical pedagogy of place-based education are discussed with reference to curriculum, pedagogy and teacher education.