I came out of the local Intermarche to be met with a scene from Zola.
A horde of poor people were disemboweling an enormous wheely bin belonging to the supemarket.
One guy was shaking the contents of boxes onto the pavement.
A woman, holding an infant, was piling up half-rotten provisions onto the child's push chair.
A group of women were squabbling over their spoils.
Cost-cutting, ´low-cost', 'no-cost' come together around a car-park in central France.
We are talking about the nourishment of children in Clermont Ferrand in 2015.
I don't know about you but all of this appears to me like a problem.
At school, kids study hypothetical problems.
We then complain that they lack responsibility.
At universities, scholars study possessive pronouns or sport sociology.
They then complain that they are not valued by the wider community.
There are moments when I have the impression that education is rather 'hors-sujet' (off its rocker, irrelevant)
Why do we bother with made-up problems when our neighbourhoods provide plenty of scope for useful study?
A few example problems
Why is it that French people confuse Roumanian with Rom and then are obnoxious with them?
What is the point of European Union for those who democratically vote as European citizens?
What simple gestures might help people to smile more about being in the same super-market car park as those who shop in wheely bins?
The problems are so complex that kids would gain enormously from studying, speaking with those concerned or elaborating schemes to help their 'foreign' peers.
Education might not just be about the reproduction of existing unworkable systems it might also be conceived as a means of working for a less unbearable system.
I insert, as footnote, data which would suggest that we are going in a rather different direction.
Image: Steve Wheeler for #blimage