Archive for the ‘Neoliberalism’ Category

William Davies, What Is “Neo” About Neoliberalism?, New Republic, July 13, 2017

How to tell the difference between liberalism and something else.

In the buildup to the 2015 General Election, Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), reiterated his support for an “Australian-style points system” as a means of controlling immigration, the policy issue that his party had prioritized above all others. What was curious about Farage’s statement was not the policy commitment itself, which had been known for some time, but the liberal rhetoric that he used to justify it. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Farage argued “what UKIP wants is not to do down migrants. It’s not to stigmatize, or discourage, or blame people for coming to this country and trying to make a better life for themselves” and that the “points system” is the only fair basis for managing immigration.


Firstly, neoliberalism has never pursued a weaker state; indeed it is a political philosophy and policy agenda that has always looked to the state to reshape society around its ideals. As Michel Foucault went to great lengths to stress, it is not another form of laissez-faire and, instead, grants the state a key role in shaping how economic freedom is to be defined and instantiated. So, in the case of immigration, the liberal notion that economic welfare will be maximized by simply throwing open the national labor market to all-comers would be resisted from a neoliberal perspective. It is entirely plausible, from a neoliberal perspective, that the state might seek to regulate something like labor flows, to serve certain strategic economic goals.

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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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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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Rodrigo Cordero, Crisis and Critique: On the Fragile Foundations of Social Life. Routledge, 2017

Fragility is a condition that inhabits the foundations of social life. It remains mostly unnoticed until something breaks and dislocates the sense of completion. In such moments of rupture, the social world reveals the stuff of which it is made and how it actually works; it opens itself to question.

Based on this claim, this book reconsiders the place of the notions of crisis and critique as fundamental means to grasp the fragile condition of the social and challenges the normalization and dissolution of these ‘concepts’ in contemporary social theory. It draws on fundamental insights from Hegel, Marx, and Adorno as to recover the importance of the critique of concepts for the critique of society, and engages in a series of studies on the work of Habermas, Koselleck, Arendt, and Foucault as to consider anew the relationship of crisis and critique as immanent to the political and economic forms of modernity.

Moving from crisis to critique and from critique to crisis, the book shows that fragility is a price to be paid for accepting the relational constitution of the social world as a human domain without secure foundations, but also for wishing to break free from all attempts at giving closure to social life as an identity without question. This book will engage students of sociology, political theory and social philosophy alike.

Table of Contents


Part I. Sociology of crisis/Critique of sociology

1. The critique of crisis

2. The crisis of critique

Part II. Models of crisis/Forms of critique

3. Diremptions of social life: Bringing capitalist crisis and social critique back together —Jürgen Habermas

4. The non-closure of human history: Misfortunes of social critique and the political foundations of concepts —Reinhart Koselleck

Part III. Fragile foundations/Political struggles

5. The fragile world in-between: Totalitarian destruction and the modesty of critical thought —Hannah Arendt

6. Making things more fragile: The persistence of crisis and the neoliberal disorder of things —Michel Foucault


Decoding social hieroglyphics: Notes on the philosophical actuality of sociology
—Theodor Adorno

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Formosinho, M., Jesus, P., Reis, C.
Emancipatory and critical language education: a plea for translingual possible selves and worlds
(2016) Critical Studies in Education, pp. 1-19. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1237983

Language is the main resource for meaningful action, including the very formation of selves and psychosocial identities, shaped by practical norms, beliefs, and values. Thus, language education constitutes one of the most powerful means for both social reproduction and social production and ideological maintenance and utopian innovation. In this paper, we attempt to emphasise the invaluable psychosocial, political, economic, and cultural function of language education in order to propose a critical view of the current transition from the monolingual to a multilingual paradigm. We maintain that multilingual approaches tend to serve the neoliberal framework and reproduce its systemic inequalities. Therefore, we argue in favour of emancipatory multilingual practices that could embody a translingual pedagogy capable of promoting the development of capabilities, the recognition of otherness, and the cultivation of diversity. Rooted in critical theory, namely in Foucault’s notion of subjectification and Freire’s view of conscientisation, an emancipatory translingual pedagogy would enable and empower every learner to synthesise a contextually creative field of new semantic and pragmatic relationships. Critical language education would enhance the ethos of biophilia that fosters what we term the poetics of communality and selfhood, that is to say, the proactive commitment to expanding symbolic and existential novelty. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Capabilities approach; emancipation; Foucault; Freire; globalisation; language education; Multilingualism; philosophy of education; Translingualism; utopia

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Lambert, K., Wright, P., Currie, J., Pascoe, R.
Embodiment and becoming in secondary drama classrooms: the effects of neoliberal education cultures on performances of self and of drama texts
(2016) Critical Studies in Education, pp. 1-19. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1238402

This article explores the effects of neoliberalism and performative educational cultures on secondary school drama classrooms. We consider the ways Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis and Butler’s concept of gender performance enable us to chart the embodied, relational, spatial and affective energies that inhabit the often neoliberal and heterosexually striated space of the drama classroom. These post-humanist analyses are useful methodological tools for mapping the complexities of student becomings in the space context of the secondary school. We also show how Foucault’s governmentality and Ball’s theory of competitive performativity are particularly salient in the context of immanent capitalism that shapes the desires of its subjects. These frameworks, when combined, can be useful in critiquing neoliberal educational assemblages and in indicating emerging deterritorializations and lines of flight in teachers and students. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Becoming; Butler; Deleuze and Guattari; embodiment; Foucault; neoliberalism; performativity; secondary drama

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