The laughter of inclusion

Nugent, Michael Vincent (2016). The laughter of inclusion. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study is concerned with school-children’s communication, behavioural, and emotional development, in which the first concern has been to focus on their laughter. Although commonly thought of as an integral component of childhood, children’s laughter seldom receives the attention it deserves. The significance of laughter’s correlation with children’s social connectivity remains largely undiscovered. Little account has been taken of laughter’s exclusive orientation, and the strain this may create in schools with an avowedly inclusive ethos.

Teachers and pupils who agreed to take part in this study were recruited from two primary schools. Together, they formed the substantive part of a pair of ethnographic case-studies. Data obtained from a series of playground/classroom observations and informal interviews were framed around Robert Putnam’s theory of social capital, and its own inclusive-exclusive (bridging and bonding) dynamic.

Findings indicate that our diminishing stocks of social capital may be directly correlated with our decline in laughter production. They also confirm the view that it is unhelpful to consider inclusive and exclusive entities in isolation. Exclusive laughter appears to be a fundamental condition of inclusive schooling, with pupils and their teachers apparently natural exponents of a form of behaviour that may be described as inclusive-exclusive.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education, Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education


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