Power and Education
ISSN 1757-7438

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Volume 1 Number 2 2009


CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]


Zygmunt Bauman. Education in the Liquid-Modern Setting, pages 157‑166
Lars Dahlström. Education in a Post-neoliberal Era: a promising future for the Global South?, pages 167‑177
Susan Jones & Christine Hall. Creative Partners: arts practice and the potential for pupil voice, pages 178‑188
William F. Pinar. The Unaddressed ‘I’ of Ideology Critique, pages 189‑200
Justine Grønbæk Pors. Servile Power: when something is rotten in the state of Denmark, pages 201‑213
P.L. Thomas. The Futility and Failure of Flawed Goals: efficiency education as smoke and mirrors, pages 214‑225
Ansgar Allen. The Foucauldian Peacekeeper: on the dispersion of power and the futility of change, pages 226‑237
Cameron McCarthy. The New Neoliberal Cultural and Economic Dominant: race and the re-organization of knowledge in schooling in the new times of globalization, pages 238‑251

BOOK REVIEWS doi:10.2304/power.2009.1.2.252 VIEW FULL TEXT
Problematizing Identity: everyday struggles in language, culture, and education (Angel M. Y. Lin, Ed.), reviewed by Mark Philip Smith, pages 252‑253
Don’t Touch! The Educational Story of a Panic (Heather Piper & Ian Stronach), reviewed by Jennie Bristow, pages 253‑255
Whipping Girl: a transsexual woman on sexism and the scapegoating of femininity (Julia Serano), reviewed by Liz Airton, pages 256‑258

Education in the Liquid-Modern Setting



The powerful flow from solid modernity to liquid modernity – presaged by and presaging further social changes hitherto unknown in scope and speed – is creating new and unprecedented conditions in which individuals must pursue their fragmentary goals. Liquid-modern culture is the here-and-now and its heady temporality demands adaptability and flexibility whilst rendering them enticing and even exciting. The world is full of seductive and promising chances but, like the will o’ the wisp, its promises of empowerment are fleeting. Grasp them and they are gone, leaving only danger and disempowerment under foot. Education has, in the past, been able to adjust itself to changing circumstances and so provide some foundation; but the present change is not like past changes and the art of living in a world over-saturated with information has yet to be learned. This article sets out to capture the uncertainty, even if only momentarily, of liquid-modern culture to give some purchase to the questions education and educationalists must ask of it.

Education in a Post-neoliberal Era: a promising future for the Global South?



This article analyses the consequences of neoliberal thinking for education systems, particularly in the Global South. It considers the possibility of an intellectual meltdown following the economic meltdown and argues that a new post-neoliberal educational agenda is needed. The marketisation of education in the Global North and the doublespeak of the Education for All agenda in the Global South are used to illustrate the onslaught against educational ideals. However, the present situation can open up for a new start in education based on ideas fostering social justice and education as a craftsmanship for life, a usefulness beyond the classroom, a critical contextualised praxis and a narrative of a new and more human type of social development. It is argued that a post-neoliberal agenda along these ideas is urgently needed globally and that it has the potential to become particularly important for the creation of opportunities and initiatives in the Global South.

Creative Partners: arts practice and the potential for pupil voice



Recently in English schools the value of ‘pupil voice’ activities has been strongly promoted by the school improvement movement and by the Office for Standards in Education, the national inspection agency. A parallel and related agenda in English education policy has seen the official endorsement of the importance of developing creativity in school. This article is concerned with the potential of creative and arts activities to extend the range and types of children’s and young people’s opportunities to participate meaningfully in school and to have their voices heard. The article draws on data from the Creative School Change Project, an Arts Council funded investigation into the impact of the Creative Partnerships [CP] programme on whole-school change. CP funds artists and creative practitioners to work in partnership with schools in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. The authors argue that the literature that categorises and promotes pupil voice pays insufficient attention to the potential of artistic/aesthetic discourses amongst pupils in school, and that such discourses make an important contribution to democratic school cultures. They suggest that the work of CP within the group of schools identified in this article demonstrates how ‘pupil voice’ activities, now officially sanctioned in schools, might be expanded and modified by creative practice.

The Unaddressed ‘I’ of Ideology Critique



Power and ideology, from different standpoints, claim and reject each other, with different – and sometimes new – constructions of power built upon the rubble of past ideologies. This article takes as its starting point Michael F.D. Young’s Bringing Knowledge Back In to address the links between education and power as they are played out and played with in sociologies of knowledge and education. Power acts on subjects but so too does it call the subject into being. Hiding this quixotic other of ideology critique – that is, ‘I’ the critic – enables the concealment of power. It is not enough, then, to recognize the production and reproduction of power operating externally: the power within us, the ability to imagine resistance against ourselves and others, must be acknowledged.

Servile Power: when something is rotten in the state of Denmark



This article scrutinizes the political demand for a strengthening of the culture of evaluation in public schools in Denmark. Using a combination of governmentality literature and the concept of paradox provided by systems theory, a number of recent political initiatives to promote evaluation and assessment in Danish primary schools are investigated. This sheds light on how the Danish Ministry of Education has come to recognize that local teacher resistance undermines means of power and has developed new strategies of self-evaluation and self-governance. Drawing on Mitchell Dean’s concept of culture governance the article examines how political governing can function as power, not by means of control and regulation, but by affecting the teachers’ wills and desires to change the way they think and act in their professional lives. The article suggests that political governing is not only exercised by detailed regulation that disempowers teachers or diminishes their freedom in the classroom but that strategies of self-governing are highly complex and ambiguous in their ways of operating through the cultivation of teachers’ identities.

The Futility and Failure of Flawed Goals: efficiency education as smoke and mirrors



Educational reform in the USA is traditionally grounded in mechanistic assumptions about accountability paradigms and narrow concepts of assessment; those reforms tend to ignore the burden of poverty and other external factors on student and school success. Focusing on accountability and testing strategies in the United States during the post-Nation at Risk era (1983), this article argues that mechanistic assumptions about school reform are inherently destined to fail because they are aiming at the wrong goals and ignoring the inherent imbalance of power among the stakeholders of teaching and learning; these patterns identified in US practices parallel dynamics and policies found internationally (standardized national tests in the United Kingdom, outcomes-based education in South Africa, and bureaucratic policies and corruption in Mexico, for example). Further, the discourse and tone of the discussion is a parallel argument about the nature of our scholarly discussions of education, often bound themselves by traditional (and mechanistic) assumptions about the nature of academic writing.

The Foucauldian Peacekeeper: on the dispersion of power and the futility of change



Foucault is widely known for the radical nature of his work, for his idiosyncratic approach to history, and for his reconfiguration of the concept of power. Curiously though, his conceptions of history and power might act to undermine their potential to incite radical critique of systems of education and wider society, resulting in a more patient, restrained and ultimately conservative scholarship than you would at first expect. The apparent points of similarity between Michel Foucault, Herbert George Wells and the reformist, statistician and eugenicist, Karl Pearson, will be outlined in order to exemplify this apparent danger. Whilst Foucault would be at odds with Pearson’s authoritarian view of education, the Foucauldian account of power seems, oddly, to lead to agreement with Pearson on the futility of revolutionary change.

The New Neoliberal Cultural and Economic Dominant: race and the reorganization of knowledge in schooling in the new times of globalization



The fundamental insecurity and vulnerability with which we live has profound implications for education and for young people who must increasingly be prepared to live in a world that offers little recourse to personal, social or economic stability. This instability frames the need to move beyond conventionalism and the institutional practices of confinement to embrace more critical understandings and interventions in the field of education and in social life. However, although it is neither conceptually nor theoretically useful to isolate the variable of race from the social complexities in which it is located, this idea of movement must also be connected to stasis and to the confining circumstances that underwrite the lives of modern racialized subjects. Proper attention must be paid to the powerful patterns of historical incorporation and the work of culture and signification in specific contexts. This article seeks to expand an understanding and a delineation of the new terms of context and existence, showing the ways in which the logics of neoliberalism and globalization are defining the new discursive categories and new relations between education and society.


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