Politicised compassion and pedagogical partnership: A discourse and practice for social justice in the inclusive academy


  • Suanne Gibson University of Plymouth
  • Alison Cook-Sather




politicised compassion, pedagogical partnership, social justice, equality, student experience


Despite changes prompted by global legalisation and policy developments for social justice and inclusion, many institutions of higher education remain driven by neoliberal values, an endemic culture of performativity, and an emphasis on individual success. These phenomena inform, disfigure, and invert inclusion and equality in policy, practice, and outcome. In response, we propose politicised compassion fostered through pedagogical partnership as a political and social justice reaction to the status quo. This paper explores this proposal, grounding it in international research studies on student experience, partnership, and equality. The work’s novelty is in its advancement of Zembylas’ (2013) work on “critical compassion” through what we term politicised compassion with the goal of enabling sustained student agency, student success, and the creation of active, considerate citizens. Our work invites critical considerations of where such a discourse for meaningful social justice and equality can take place within the academy.


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How to Cite

Gibson, S., & Cook-Sather, A. (2020). Politicised compassion and pedagogical partnership: A discourse and practice for social justice in the inclusive academy. International Journal for Students as Partners, 4(1), 16–33. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v4i1.3996



Research Articles