Alienating curriculum work in Australian vocational education and training
(2015) Critical Studies in Education, 17 p. Article in Press.
Competency-based training (CBT) is a curriculum model employed in educational sectors, professions and industries around the world. A significant feature of the model is its permeability to control by interests outside education. In this article, a ‘Neoliberal’ version of CBT is described and analysed in the context of Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET). In this version of the model, a division of curriculum labour is instituted that, from the perspective of Neoliberal theory, allows the interests of educators to be limited in accordance with the belief that they will neglect the interests of students and other stakeholders if they have control over the whole curriculum construction process. But this version of CBT denigrates the expertise of educators by forcing them to set aside their own judgement about what is important to teach and implement a pre-existing picture of an occupation that may or may not be an effective representation. Empirical evidence is reviewed that suggests curriculum work in VET is indeed alienating for educators. Existing critiques of CBT are considered and found to have overlooked the specifically Neoliberal form of CBT in VET analysed in the article.
adult education; curriculum; Foucault; teachers’ work and identities; vocational education and training
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Posted in Journal articles on 22 May 2015 |
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Theorizing Governance as Globalized Governmentality: The Dynamics of World-Societal Order in Palestine
(2015) Middle East Critique, 29 p. Article in Press.
In many cases, Middle East Studies and International Relations (IR) fail to provide an appropriate account of governance and power and the underlying dynamics of global political order. In order to overcome these shortcomings, I will highlight the conceptual compatibility between Foucauldian post-structuralist governmentality studies and world society theorization from the perspective of the Stanford School’s sociological neo-institutionalism. On this basis, I will conceptualize governmentality as a globally diffused pattern of political ordering in world society. This global diffusion of governmentality, however, cannot be equated with global homogenization, because decoupling dynamics can lead to significant differences between a global norm and how it is translated into a local context. Hence, governmentality denotes a specific, universalistic configuration of governmental rationalities and technologies but also takes into account localizations of diversity. I will identify biopower, surveillance, and technologies of the self as core dimensions of modern governmentality and analyze their contribution to the establishment of political order in Palestine. In this sense, the examples of modern statistics, good governance, and refugee camp governance not only serve as empirical illustrations for the materialization of modern governmentality in Palestine. They also underline the embeddedness of Palestine into the structural horizon of world society. As a result, political order that comes into existence in Palestine needs to be understood as world-societal order.
Biopower; Foucault; global governmentality; governmentality; International Relations Theory; Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Palestine; political order; power; world society
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All that is global is not world culture: accountability systems and educational apparatuses
(2015) Globalisation, Societies and Education, 13 (1), pp. 135-148.
This article explores why we see educational accountability systems circulating transnationally. It argues that researchers in the field of comparative and international education need to use the concepts of diffusion and translation to think about the formation, coordination and extension of networks and discursive formations through which heterogeneous, disparate objects are brought into relation. Approaching accountability in education as an ‘apparatus’ helps us engage with the research challenges presented by globalisation. This article proposes a way of seeing accountability as constitutive of the global and not as an after-effect. This approach helps us avoid the distracting and ultimately irrelevant fixation on a so-called ‘global/local nexus’ that is characteristic of much work in the field of comparative and international education. It also aims to improve on world culture theory explanations for why we are presently witnessing a global trend towards the increased ‘monitoring of monitoring’, i.e., increased self-organising reflexivity in the self-description and self-observation that school systems are called to engage in.
accountability; Actor-Network Theory; Foucault; governmentality
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Mika, C., Stewart, G.
Māori in the Kingdom of the Gaze: Subjects or critics?
(2015) Educational Philosophy and Theory, 13 p. Article in Press.
For Māori, a real opportunity exists to flesh out some terms and concepts that Western thinkers have adopted and that precede disciplines but necessarily inform them. In this article, we are intent on describing one of these precursory phenomena—Foucault’s Gaze—within a framework that accords with a Māori philosophical framework. Our discussion is focused on the potential and limits of colonised thinking, which has huge implications for such disciplines as education, among others. We have placed Foucault’s Gaze alongside a Māori metaphysics and have speculated on the Gaze’s surveillant/expectant strategies with some key Māori primordial phenomena in mind, such as ‘te kore’ (nothingness) and ‘āhua’ (form). We posit the Gaze as an entity and thus aim to render it more relevant to Māori, so that it can be addressed appropriately. We also (but relatedly) preface that discussion by theorising on some of the challenges that confront us as Māori authors in even referring counter-colonially to the Gaze. Whilst we do not seek to destabilise the Gaze by positing it as a metaphysically based entity, we do hint at the possibility that critical indigenous philosophy may even for a short time bring the Gaze into focus for Māori. By introducing an awareness of an alternative (Māori) metaphysics, we may have unsettled the self-certainty of the Gaze.
Foucault; Gaze; metaphysics; Māori
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Hynes, M., Sharpe, S.
Habits, style and how to wear them lightly
(2015) Cultural Geographies, 22 (1), pp. 67-83.
Contributing to cultural geography’s emerging interest in the work of Felix Ravaisson, this article explores the relationship between the impersonal force of habit and the personalised production of subjectivity. More precisely, our concern is with the relationship between habit and the stylisation of self that can be witnessed in the production of the intellectual subject. Paying particular attention to the relationship he traces between habit, consciousness and the effort that defines subjectivity, we explore the implications of Ravaisson’s understanding of habit for the work of style, understood as an integration of habits and dispositions into a manner of being. By exploring the question of intellectual style in the work of Alain Badiou, Michel Foucault and Friedrich Nietzsche, we consider what the implications might be of performing that task of integration lightly, without the lofty weightiness that often attends intellectual life.
Badiou; Foucault; habit; intellectual style; lightness; Nietzsche
art, cultural geography, social theory
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Knowledge production in a constructed field: reflections on comparative and international education
(2015) Asia Pacific Education Review, 11 p. Article in Press.
Adopting Maria Manzon’s theoretical framework, which draws on Foucault and proposes that comparative education as an academic field is socially constructed, I suggest that the field is neither stable nor well defined. To demonstrate this, I conduct a content analysis of the Comparative Education Review, using Klaus Krippendorff’s methodological framework to study comparative and international education (CIE) researchers’ understanding of the national—and of their related knowledge production in the field. Many comparativists express interests in multiple countries, and their knowledge production takes the form of individual country studies. The countries are habitually studied using a “problem approach” focusing on one specific aspect of the country under investigation and using an associated social science methodology deemed appropriate. Few comparativists are making explicit use of or reference to any methodology that is unique to comparative education. Efforts to catalog and systematize CIE research have demonstrated that the field is becoming so inclusive that it hardly is distinguishable from educational studies as a whole. Hence, I suggest that instead of speaking about unifyingfeatures of the field, it may be more relevant to speak about frequent elements, such as a focus on the national, and a knowledge production characterized by the academic practitioner who desires to improve the education systems studied. A third frequent element may be the focus on educational development, thus justifying the label of “comparative, international, and development education.” One challenge of the field is its dependence on Western social science discourses, which may be marginalizing other voices.
Comparative education; Comparative Education Review; Content analysis; Development; International education; Knowledge production
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Governmentality and My School: School Principals in Societies of Control
(2015) Educational Philosophy and Theory, 47 (2), pp. 133-145.
The introduction of new accountabilities and techniques of government for the purposes of educational reform have created new complexities and tensions for school leadership. Policies such as the publishing of league tables in the UK, high stakes testing in the US and the introduction of the My School website in Australia are particularly significant for school principals. In this article I appeal to the work of Foucault and Deleuze to provide an alternate approach to understanding how principals are constituted as subjects through a range of practices and discourses associated with the introduction of the My School website. I specifically draw upon Foucault’s notion of governmentality and Deleuze’s notion of societies of control to provoke new lines of thought into these government practices. I argue that it is through the performative in the education system that school principals are becoming perpetually assessable subjects.
Deleuze; Foucault; governmentality; school principals
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