Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Paul Sutton, Lost souls? The demoralization of academic labour in the measured university, Higher Education Research & Development Vol. 36 , Iss. 3,2017
DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2017.1289365

In this conceptual paper, I contend that the soul of academic labour is becoming lost in performativity. Performativity, I explain, is a form of regulation and control that deploys technical rationality and judgements to incentivize and punish academics. Indeed, performativity is central to the culture of measurement within contemporary universities. This, I contend, is demoralizing academic labour as performativity only measures and values those dimensions of academic labour that can be captured by quantitative performance indicators. To critique this process, I firstly locate performativity within a moral economy perspective. I argue that the university economy is no longer structured by the moral norm of education as a public good. It has been restructured, commodified and marketized by neo-liberal capitalism. Secondly, I explore how the reorganization of institutional practices and academic identity within the university by performativity wreaks terror in the academic’s soul. Thirdly, I critique the unsatisfying post-structural reduction of the soul to a synonym for subjectivity and offer a sociological conception of the soul as the spiritual dimension of academic labour emerging from deep, rich social relations of production. My conjecture is that the soul is the moral energy and purpose central to species-being: the peculiarly human ability to transform the socio-human world for the good of all. Finally, I suggest that within the soulless technical measure of academic labour that now dominates the university lies the possibility for developing a more soulful normative measure. My aim then is to articulate a dialectical humanist conception of the soul of academic labour in order to critique the reductive positivism of the measured university.

KEYWORDS: Academic labour, dialectical humanism, performativity, soul, species-being

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Stephen J Ball, Neoliberal education? Confronting the slouching beast, Policy Futures in education, Volume: 14 issue: 8, page(s): 1046-1059
Article first published online: August 23, 2016;Issue published: November 1, 2016

DOI: 10.1177/1478210316664259

A major aim of this paper is to draw attention to the insidious manner in which the deficit discourse and practices associated with neoliberal reform are de- or re-professionalising educationists through an acculturation process. In the context of Ireland, as elsewhere, the author identifies how the three ‘technologies’ of Market, Management and Performance have inconspicuously but harmfully changed the subjective experience of education at all levels. It is argued that the power of privatisation in service delivery gives rise to change in education as part of a slow burn; how management is altering social connections and power relations to less democratic and caring forms, and how performativity and accountability agendas are radically undermining the professionalism of teachers in the hunt for measures, targets, benchmarks, tests, tables, audits to feed the system in the name of improvement. The paper adopts a personal tenor exhorting all educationists to become increasingly critically reflexive, politically aware and urging them to reawaken to their real educational work – the ethical and moral project that most signed up to but which has since become lost.

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O’Brien, Peter C. (2017). The adaptive professional: Teachers, school leaders and ethical-governmental practices of (self-) formation. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Pages 1-15 | Published online: 16 Jun 2017

DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2017.1339585

This article analyses the relations that teachers and school leaders establish with themselves and with others—especially those who would seek to govern them—through the professional and personal–professional activities that increasingly accompany pedagogical and administrative practice today. Specifically, the article seeks to analyse the conditions under which such ‘ethical-governmental’ relations have become possible and to clarify the lines of power, truth and ethics that are in play within them. In this way, it is argued, their intelligibility may be recovered; their contingencies disclosed. The article first posits a non-psychologised, ‘enfolded’ notion of the self on which analysis rests before turning to an analytics of (self-) government of the conditions themselves. An important element within this entanglement of diverse events, discourses, practices and foldings is the ensemble of policies and practices developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. The article argues that the programmes of this national agency are a salient and widespread force for acting upon teachers’ and school leaders’ self-constitution as a subject of their own actions—a subject which, in consequence, is enjoined to be more agile, self-reliant, engaged and entrepreneurial than its ‘routine-bound’ predecessors; a subject we describe as the ‘adaptive professional’.

Keywords: Self, ethics, governmentality, neoliberalism, professional standards

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Liz Kirwan* and Kathy Hall, The mathematics problem: the construction of a market-led education discourse in the Republic of Ireland, Critical Studies in Education,
Vol. 57, No. 3, 2016, 376–393.

DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2015.1102752

Educational change in the neoliberal state is permeated by the effects of forces from outside the field of education itself. The process of governmentality welcomes, indeed demands, the participation of those non-state actors valorised by neoliberalism as well as government agencies dedicated to the advancement of such groups. Inevitably, the concerns of such organisations become central to how the state sees education. This article traces the assembly of national and international agents from industry, business and special interest groups around the concept of ‘knowledge economy’. It treats this assemblage as an apparatus (dispositif), examining how the construction of an economic problem is brought to bear on the demand for educational change, and how this construction of the problem is used to shape public opinion in order to prepare the public for a radical change of direction. Confining itself to the reform of mathematics education introduced in the Republic of Ireland in 2010, this article traces the emergence of a mathematics discourse focused on market-led education. It interrogates the construction of ‘the mathematics problem’ or ‘crisis in maths’ and argues that the discourse of the present construction is economic in nature, centring as it does on human capital production and market-led reform.

Keywords: governmentality; human capital; Ireland; knowledge economy; market-led education; mathematics education; neoliberalism; Project Maths

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Raaen, F.D.
Placement mentors making sense of research-based knowledge
(2017) Teacher Development, pp. 1-21. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/13664530.2017.1308429

Placement mentors’ role increasingly implies demonstrating to student teachers how research-based knowledge in combination with experience-based knowledge may be relevant in teachers’ professional work. This is a challenge. Placement mentors are often unsure how to make sense of research-based knowledge. Frequently there is a mismatch between what they say they can do and what they actually show they are able to do. This paper explores how placement mentors’ reasoning is formed by their lack of power to define what research-based knowledge consists of. The analysis in this paper is based on an investigation of the epistemological premises that placement mentors rely on when they validate research-based knowledge. The theoretical–analytical point of departure is Michel Foucault’s conception of power-knowledge. © 2017 Teacher Development

Author Keywords
clash of epistemologies; making meaning of research-based knowledge; Placement teachers; power-knowledge; teacher education

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Perryman, J., Ball, S. J., Braun, A., & Maguire, M. (2017). Translating policy: governmentality and the reflective teacher. Journal of Education Policy, 1-12.

DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2017.1309072

This paper deploys some concepts from the work of Michel Foucault to problematise the mundane and quotidian practices of policy translation as these occur in the everyday of schools. In doing that, we suggest that these practices are complicit in the formation of and constitution of teacher subjects, and their subjection to the morality of policy and of educational reform. These practices are some ways in which teachers work on themselves and others, and make themselves subjects of policy. We conceive of the processes of translation, its practices and techniques as a form of ethics, the constitution of a contemporary and contingent version of professionalism through the arts of self-conduct. In all of this, it is virtually impossible to separate out, as Foucault points out, capability from control. We argue that the development of new capacities, new skills of classroom management, of pedagogy, bring along with it the intensification of a power relation. We are primarily concerned with Foucault’s third face of power, pastoral power or government and how this interweaves and overlap with other forms of power within processes of policy and educational reform.

Keywords: Policy translation, power, Foucault, governmentality, care of the self, reflection

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Marín-Díaz, D.L.
The key is the individual: Practices of the self, self-help and learning
(2017) Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49 (7), pp. 710-719.

DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2016.1204737

ABSTRACT: The article analyses the boom of self-help discourses and their relationship with pedagogic discourses, with the purpose of marking the centrality of the individual in the practices of contemporaneous government. Two exercises are important in this analysis of an archaeological genealogical perspective: on the one hand, it comprehends the impact which self-help has in the life of its readers and practitioners, allowing the consolidation and broad diffusion of tools to guide one’s own life and define modes of being within the world; on the other hand, thinking that the techniques provided by self-help may proceed in a millenary tradition of practices intended for the government itself. The study of the series self-help—education—government allows some of the main elements of these discourses to be identified and shows the centrality of the notion of learning among them. © 2016 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.

AUTHOR KEYWORDS: education; government; learning; practices of the self; Self-help

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