Suspensions, Expulsions, and The Black Masculine Student-Body: The Problematization of Exclusionary Discipline in Schools
Term of Award
Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)
Document Type and Release Option
Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)
Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Committee Member 1
Ming Fang He
Committee Member 2
Committee Member 3
Committee Member 3 Email
This study explores how black males suspended and expelled from schools are subject to exclusionary consequences that extend beyond the school-to-prison pipeline. Utilizing Michel Foucault’s genealogical approach, I problematize suspensions and expulsions to embark on a theoretical discourse. This is accomplished by an exhaustive perspectivism, whereby an event [discipline in schools] is explored from a particular view of the ‘situated’ researcher (Howarth, 2008). It is not simply a look at the modern exclusions of black male students; rather, a critical look into how the black masculine student-body has come to be excluded.
By problematizing exclusionary discipline in schools, I found that disproportionately black boys are suspended or expelled. This finding led me to investigate how race and gender intersect schools’ discipline practices. Exclusionary discipline in schools is articulated through tactics, relays, and communication routes linked to the black masculine student-body; whereby, social, political, economic, and cultural forces impact the life chances of black males. Hence, I employ Critical Race Theory as a lens for which I may respond to hegemonic forces that emerge and enable present school discipline practices.
Power, hegemony, and race undergird my analysis. Foucault (1995), with his emphasis on the body politic, reminds us that power invest the human body through disciplinary regimes. Similarly, Antonio Gramsci (1975) loosed the traditional conception of power from the deterministic Marxist thought of hegemony; explicating that the power one group has over another occurs through coercion [repressive] and consent [productive]. Hence, I introduce a merger of the two; whereby an analytics of the body through the repressive and productive hegemonic apparatus of the state [school] may increase our understanding of exclusionary discipline in schools and its impact on the life chances of black boys.
Utilizing Critical Race Theory as a lens to critique power and hegemony, this study promotes understanding of exclusionary discipline in schools, how they have evolved to impact black boys in schools today, and provide points of resistance. Explicitly stated, “Critical-historical analysis is necessarily an emancipatory act of reasoning through historical problems while elevating an analysis that calls for an end to a kind of domination…” (Jackson II, 2008). It is my hope that by problematizing the ways black boys are excluded by discipline in schools; policy makers, educators and parents may begin to work toward alternative discipline practices that produce better life chances for black males.
Ratcliff, Melvin T., "Suspensions, Expulsions, and The Black Masculine Student-Body: The Problematization of Exclusionary Discipline in Schools" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1209.