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Looking, Longing, for Moral Openings Living together, being together, revealing themselves to one another, people have the capacity to bring an “in-between” into being, a public space. —Maxine Greene Iremain passionate about the capacity of school for fostering the in-betweenness that Maxine Greene calls to mind in this epigraph. The feeling is one of longing, not faith or romance in the notion of public schooling as some kind of fixed good. Instead, I long to find or create a space in which people can connect with others across difference and ability in an ongoing and unfinished way. I want to reorder and confuse myself and to look for what Roland Barthes calls a “third meaning,” a space suspended between lived history and what I am not yet. Yes, schools are often closed in character, often dreary, and increasingly influenced by antidemocratic and market interests. But reflecting on my own life as a student and a teacher, I can bring to mind glimpses of moral living in this most contradictory of public institutions. These moments might flourish in spaces outside the regular and regulated, spaces in which some kind of search is involved and a supplemental meaning—a self, an object, a value—is called into being. By expanding the range of what is possible in schools, teachers and students stand a chance of prolonging these moments and increasing their appearance. In this chapter, I am interested in enunciating the texture of this search. To Stray Afield After all, what would be the value of the passion for knowledge if it resulted only in a certain amount of knowledgeableness and not, in one way or another and to the extent possible, in the knower’s straying afield of himself? There are times in life when the question of knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all. —Michel Foucault My longing for openings has something to do with a general dissatisfaction with the lack of diversity within my professional field. It has something to do with a symbol system that has been made obvious and less open, in which the mere relay  Looking, Longing, for Moral Openings | 107 of information is characterized as education. Structural racism and homophobia, combined with the economics of access and privilege, result in a teaching force that remains—at least in the United States—predominantly white, middle class, and heteronormative. Indeed, all might heed Estelle Jorgensen’s concerns that the music-education profession, particularly its philosophy community, is insufficiently broad, ambivalent about the personal perspective, unhearing with regard to critique, detached from lived concerns, and lacking the courage to speak. Jorgensen and others are calling for a bolder, more venturesome arena in which to work, teach, and study. Recall Thoreau and the way he studied himself in relation to the world he lived in and explored. Teachers need better rewards for straying afield and fewer for staying put. We need less knowledgeableness and more varied, even strange, ways of knowing. This is the case I would like to make. A culture or social system can maintain a normative order only when it is sufficiently integrated and inclusive, when all have an equal say in the debate about what counts as good or right. More likely, a normative order is achieved when a system takes firm control of its borders, regardless of the cost to the individual or to individual differences. Troubled by the latter, I want to trespass predetermined borders, to look beyond unifying references and unified standards of practice, beyond the kinds of statutory art-making that give license to hierarchical displays of power (or is it the other way around?) and exclusionary practices that mark off some as musical and others as not. Recruiting a diverse teaching force has much to do with the norms that are maintained and legitimized by the status quo. This is not a question of handpicking one set of norms to replace with another. (I don’t know how this could happen, and, anyway, to whom would such a privilege extend?) Rather, our solution depends entirely on conceiving of norms as open and amenable to change or repair. Concerning school- and universitybased music study, I propose that educators recognize the following: . Norms and traditions should be understood and communicated to learners as provisional, ongoing, personal, and negotiable. . Although their purpose is to generalize, norms should be tested...


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