Brown, C.
‘Favourite places in school’ for lower-set ‘ability’ pupils: school groupings practices and children’s spatial orientations
(2016) Children’s Geographies, pp. 1-14. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2016.1269154

This paper contributes to the recent turn within Children’s Geographies concerned with understanding and illuminating educational inequalities. The focus is upon pupils assigned to lower ‘ability’ groupings, in a school under pressure to raise attainment. The objective of the paper is twofold, firstly to consider how school grouping practices affect children’s sense of belonging in lessons, and secondly, to contextualise these findings against children’s spatial orientations within the broader school environment. It is argued that a spatial focus may shed light upon the educational policy drivers that contribute to the exclusion of disadvantaged children. Neo-liberal imperatives of accountability and performance can be seen to shape hierarchies of belonging, where pupils’ positioning in ‘ability’ groupings enables/limits the spatial agency that they can exert. Macro policy concerns are mapped onto micro school processes concerning the construction and governance of school spaces, using theoretical insights from Michel Foucault and R.D Sack. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
ability grouping; Foucault; neo-liberal education policy; R.D. Sack; school inclusion/exclusion; Spatial orientations

Editor: What do Foucault and the Duchess of Cambridge have in common? The polo neck skivvy!

The affordable staple that has become the Duchess of Cambridge’s secret wardrobe weapon, The Telegraph, 23 February 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge is now, we can all agree, a pro in the royal dressing stakes. For her increasingly regular royal engagements, she strikes a careful balance between introducing new pieces, whether by designers she’s never worn before or old faithfuls like Alexander McQueen or L.K Bennett, and reviving favourite looks from past appearances. This means that she has become both famously ‘thrifty’ but also noted for her glamour and support of British design names. […]

But it’s the Duchess’s black polo neck jumper which she layered underneath the nipped-waist jacket that was today’s most noteworthy outfit addition. It marks the third time this year alone that Kate has worn this staple piece for a public engagement. […]

For such a useful and seemingly simple piece, the polo neck has a rather illustrious history. Its beginnings were humble, being used mostly as a practical cover-up. But during the 20th century it became a favourite of the intellectual elite. The French philosopher Michel Foucault was renowned for his love of a white jersey version.

Carl Death, Counter-conducts: A Foucauldian Analytics of Protest, Social Movement Studies Vol. 9 , Iss. 3, 2010

The influence of Foucault on studies of social movements, dissent and protest is not as direct as might be imagined. He is generally regarded as focusing more on the analysis of power and government than forms of resistance. This is reflected in the governmentality literature, which tends to treat dissent and protest as an afterthought, or failure of government. However, Foucault’s notion of ‘counter-conducts’ has much to offer the study of dispersed, heterogeneous and variegated forms of resistance in contemporary global politics. Using the protests that have accompanied summits including Seattle, Johannesburg, Prague, London and Copenhagen to illustrate an analytics of protest in operation, this article shows how a Foucauldian perspective can map the close interrelationship between regimes of government and practices of resistance. By adopting a practices and mentalities focus, rather than an actor-centric approach, and by seeking to destabilize the binaries of power and resistance, and government and freedom, that have structured much of political thought, an analytics of protest approach illuminates the mutually constitutive relationship between dominant power relationships and counter-conducts, and shows how protests both disrupt and reinforce the status quo, at the same time.

Foucault, counter-conducts, protest, summits, resistance, governmentality

De Schauwer, E., Van de Putte, I., Blockmans, I.G.E., Davies, B.
The intra-active production of normativity and difference
(2016) Gender and Education, pp. 1-16. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2016.1259463

Drawing on memory stories told in a collective biography workshop about children’s encounters with schooling, this paper experiments with re-imagining the child-student-subject as an ‘emergent intracorporeal multiplicity’ [Fritsch, K. 2015. “Desiring Disability Differently: Neoliberalism, Heterotopic Imagination and Intra-Corporeal Configurations.” Foucault Studies 19: 43–66, 51]. From the feminist new materialist perspective that the authors work with, the child is configured not as an entity prior to, or separate from, encounters with education systems, but emergent with-in them. This paper focuses on difference in human relations, and in particular on the intersections of disability and gender. It does so not in terms of essential characteristics of individuals, but as emergent, in-the-moment, with others. In focussing on the detail of lives-in-their-making, the authors ask, with Barad [2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press], if we are interested in justice, how we are to ‘understand our role in helping constitute who and what come to matter?’ © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
difference; Disability; gender; justice; normativity; responsibility

Raaper, R.
Tracing assessment policy discourses in neoliberalised higher education settings
(2016) Journal of Education Policy, pp. 1-18. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2016.1257160

This article explores assessment policy in two European universities with different political, historical and social backgrounds: the University of Glasgow and Tallinn University. The University of Glasgow is a well-established Russell Group university in the UK; Tallinn University is a relatively new university in post-Soviet Estonia, shaped by very recent neoliberalisation processes. By applying a Foucauldian theorisation and Faircloughian methodology, this article approaches assessment policy as not only relating to institutional contexts but also national and global policy environments. The article argues that the assessment policy in Glasgow relates to globally dominant neoliberal discourses of accountability and excellence. These discourses have turned assessment into a complex technology of government that manages educational processes as well as academic and student subjectivities. While Tallinn University is shaped by neoliberalism at strategic levels, the policy documents in Tallinn still indicate a strong sense of local tradition where regulations have a modest impact on academic freedom and assessors’ disciplinary power over students. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
assessment policy; discourse; Foucault; higher education; Neoliberalism

lorey_state_of_insecurity Eric Wilson, Precarious Politics, The Blackstone Review, December 2016

Review of State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious. by Isabell Lorey, Verso, 2015

Using Foucault’s notion of self-governance, Lorey helps to demonstrate how the hustler internalizes the imperative to hustle. Self-governance implies the ways in which a population is made, through a variety of state- and work-disciplinary mechanisms, and comes to make, through self-discipline, itself into a subject. Neoliberal self-governance takes place under conditions where the burden of life has been shifted from the state to individuals who are made to appear solely responsible for their lives, their successes or failures, their employment or imprisonment. This transition produces precarious subjects who are increasingly called upon to live lives of constant precarious labor, to manage their precarity at all times, to constantly hustle, at work and at home. In this way, precarity becomes a way of life, a condition that not only structures employment, but also structures the governing of the self. The uncertainty produced by neoliberalism looms within the texture of daily life, informing not only conscious decisions about how to allocate resources for an uncertain future but also unconscious thoughts and behaviors. It is the production of radically isolated individuals who are driven by one imperative: to pursue security in a world of financial, political, environmental, and humanitarian crises.

The individual hustler, hustling, working multiple jobs, learning to love and identify with exploitative conditions, all appear variously in this moment of neoliberalism.

Saari, A.
Knowledge Without Contexts? A Foucauldian Analysis of E.L. Thorndike’s Positivist Educational Research
(2016) Studies in Philosophy and Education, 35 (6), pp. 589-603.

DOI: 10.1007/s11217-016-9527-2

The article discusses the allegedly decontextualized and ahistorical traits in positivist educational research and curriculum by examining its emergence in early twentieth-century empirical education. Edward Lee Thorndike’s educational psychology is analyzed as a case in point. It will be shown that Thorndike’s positivist educational psychology stressed the need to account for the reality of schooling and to produce knowledge of the actual contexts of education. Furthermore, a historical analysis informed by Michel Foucault’s history of the human sciences reveals that there are multiple historical temporalities involved in Thorndike’s educational psychology. This allows a new critical angle to be taken on positivist educational research. The question concerning the contexts of empirical education turns to examining the way the conditions of possibility for scientific knowledge in education involve practices of contextualization as well as paradoxical and self-defeating elements. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Author Keywords
Foucault; History of education; Philosophy of education; Philosophy of science; Post-structuralism

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