Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education (Discourse )

Publisher: University of Queensland. Dept. of Education, Taylor & Francis


Discourse is an international, fully peer-reviewed journal publishing contemporary research and theorising in the cultural politics of education. The journal publishes academic articles from throughout the world which contribute to contemporary debates on the new social, cultural and political configurations that now mark education as a highly contested but important cultural site. Discourse adopts a broadly critical orientation, but is not tied to any particular ideological, disciplinary or methodological position. It encourages interdisciplinary approaches to the analysis of educational theory, policy and practice. It welcomes papers which explore speculative ideas in education, are written in innovative ways, or are presented in experimental ways. Apart from articles and book reviews, Discourse also contains, from time to time, review essays, symposia on emerging issues, as well as interviews and policy debates.

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  • Website
    Discourse website
  • Other titles
    Discourse (Abingdon, England: Online), Studies in the cultural politics of education
  • ISSN
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  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Taylor & Francis

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Some individual journals may have policies prohibiting pre-print archiving
    • On author's personal website or departmental website immediately
    • On institutional repository or subject-based repository after either 12 months embargo for STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Journals or 18 months embargo for SSH journals
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On a non-profit server
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Set statements to accompany deposits (see policy)
    • The publisher will deposit in on behalf of authors to a designated institutional repository including PubMed Central, where a deposit agreement exists with the repository
    • STM: Science, Technology and Medicine
    • SSH: Social Science and Humanities
    • Publisher last contacted on 25/03/2014
    • 'Taylor & Francis (Psychology Press)' is an imprint of 'Taylor & Francis'
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper suggests that historical ontology, as one form of reflexive critique, is an instructive research design for making sense of the political and historical constitution of the Academic Language and Learning (ALL) educator in Australian higher education. The ALL educator in this paper refers to those practitioners in the field of ALL, whose ethical agency has largely been taken for granted since their slow and uneven emergence in the latter half of the twentieth century. Using the lens of governmentality, genealogical design and archaeological method, the historical ontology proposed in this paper demonstrates how the ethical remit of the ALL educator to 'make a difference' to student learning is not necessarily a unifying construct providing a foundational moral basis for the work, but a contingent historical and political effect of the government of conduct in liberal society. The findings of this approach are not intended to undermine the agency of the ALL educator, but to assist in making sense of the historical conditions that frame and complicate their institutional intelligibility as ethical agents in the academy.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 12/2014;
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 11/2014; 35(2).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: By drawing on sociomaterial approaches to education, this paper presents a case study on the creation, development and consolidation of the education zone, a new policy space in South Italy. The topological reading of the case study reveals the complex reassemblage of humans and non-humans in the enactment of the education zones, and its multiple enactments as regions, networks and fluids.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: School prospectuses and promotional videos appeal to parents by presenting idealised images of the education a school provides. These educational idealisations visually realise the form of discipline a school is expected to provide, depending on the social habitus of the parents. This paper presents a content analysis of the images used in 33 sets of marketing materials from a maximally diverse sample of schools from the state of Victoria. These images are interpreted using the lenses of Bernstein's control and Bourdieu's habitus and cultural capital. The promotional images are found to vary systematically in terms of content and form depending on the perceived social class of the students which the schools attract.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 10/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In postcolonial societies matters of education are deeply rooted in the discourse of ethnicity. In Malaysia the interface between the discourses of ethnicity and education is reflected in recent debates on the choice of medium of instruction (MOI). In 2002, the Malaysian government introduced English as MOI by replacing Malay, the national language, for teaching mathematics and science at the school level. However in 2009, the policy was reversed to Malay. Through an analysis of news reports on the controversy, published in the Malaysian Chinese newspaper, Nanyang Siang Pao, this paper attempts to illustrate how a sizeable ethnic minority is able to position itself vis-a-vis a national policy. To explain the ethnopolitical construction of MOI debates in the newspaper, we use two concepts, namely 'plurality of struggles (Laclau, 2006; and Laclau and Mouffe, 1985) and 'transmission of the speech of others' (Bakhtin, 1981). These notions are contextualized in the macro-context of a multi-ethnic polity in which the Chinese society, the Chinese press and Chinese education are seen to co-construct Chinese interests.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 10/2014; 15(4).
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the Singapore Ministry of Education’s sexuality education curriculum in relation to two leading approaches to sex education, namely, abstinenceonly- until-marriage education (AOUME) and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). Based on competing cultural, political, and religious beliefs, the arguments between the advocates of AOUME and CSE not only echo similar debates in other countries, but also reveal the vicissitudes of Singapore’s “global city” ambitions in the face of cultural and economic globalization. In conclusion, this paper suggests that the tensions between the official curriculum, the societal curriculum, and the enacted curriculum provide the grounds on which a politics of curriculum reform can be staged.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014;
  • Lee
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    ABSTRACT: The Singapore government has long relied on the inherent public pedagogical qualities of culture in the forms of official cultural and media policies and in the unscripted signifiers of cultural conduct, such as in the public's attitude towards the arts. The prime objective is to instrumentalise citizens on how they should become both economically productive and creative whilst adhering to prescribed sociopolitical norms. The paper begins with a discussion of a 2012 debate surrounding a Singapore street artist, dubbed the ‘Sticker Lady’, who was arrested for vandalising public property with political incorrect stickers and provocative phrases. The saga sparked questions of whether Singapore is ready to embrace the increasingly open, technologically advanced and creativity-led twenty-first century. This paper argues that while the authorities are cognisant of the need to open-up society, it is finding it difficult to cede some aspects of control. Instead of making the case for a fundamental change, it argues that public pedagogical imperatives need to be better applied to realign the direction of cultural policy in Singapore. In essence, the perception of what creativity is and how it might engender sociopolitical openness is needed to ‘inculate’ a culture of creativity in Singapore.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • Lim
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    ABSTRACT: In concert with Singapore's ambitions of a global city well engineered to the human capital needs of the transnational knowledge economy, its schools in recent years have emphasized the teaching of critical thinking. Such efforts, however, are not without tensions and contradictions. Given that such a curricular ideal is underpinned by liberal discourses of democracy and autonomy, what form does it assume in a dominant one-party state with a deliberately weak and underdeveloped language of individual rights? In a “meritocratic” and highly stratified education system, what are the tensions involved in teaching all students what has traditionally been classified as “high-status” knowledge? This article draws upon Basil Bernstein's writings on pedagogic recontextualization and the relations between knowledge, curricular form, and ideology to examine the politics of teaching critical thinking in Singapore. Specifically, using ethnographic classroom data from a public secondary school, it details the processes involved in delocating critical thinking from its liberal underpinnings and relocating it as instrumental knowledge, the modes of pedagogic communication involved in the recontextualization, as well as how teachers and students negotiate and even resist these meanings. The article concludes with a number of observations on the politics of curriculum change in anti-liberal states.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • Wee
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    ABSTRACT: The state in Singapore has long insisted that Singaporeans be bilingual in English and an officially assigned ethnic mother tongue. English is to serve as the inter-ethnic lingua franca and facilitate economic competitiveness. The official mother tongue (Mandarin for the Chinese, Malay for the Malays, and Tamil for the Indians) is to serve as a cultural anchor for all the members of its associated ethnic group. Singapore's recent desire to establish itself as a global city, however, means that the social and linguistic order that the state has constructed on the basis of historically inherited ethnolinguistic affiliations and boundaries has to come to terms with a society that is opening up economically, culturally, and politically. The relationship between language and (ethnic) identity needs to be broadened so as to accommodate more diverse ethnolinguistic experiences. In this paper, I suggest that modernist assumptions informing Singapore's language policy need to be re-evaluated as the country attempts to re-invent itself as a global city, focusing on the implications for language education. I argue that citizenship as a form of reflexive defensive engagement is particularly useful if we are to comprehensively situate the complex state–society negotiations that characterize the politics of language in Singapore.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Critical language awareness (CLA) has aimed to raise critical consciousness in language education about the social aspects of language use, and especially the relationship between language and power, and is considered to play a significant role in enabling learners to participate effectively in democratic citizenship within and beyond the classroom. With a focus on gender representations in the media, I explain CLA's usefulness in the study of gender stereotyping, while also discussing challenges posed to CLA in the emergence of contemporary global postfeminist media representations that are ostensibly pro-women and feminist. Arguing that such postfeminist representations numb critical consciousness and create a climate of post-critique, the article addresses the need to keep open channels of critical dialog about gender and, particularly, about postfeminism. I present a case study of a peer discussion among six female undergraduate students on an online forum in a local university classroom that shows how these students “do” critical mutually and collectively in purportedly (global) postfeminist times.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
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    ABSTRACT: English education has played a vital role in facilitating Singapore's global city ambitions since the country's independence. While the state has prioritized English education's cognitive objective emphasizing information processing and effective communication skills, it has given insufficient attention to the role of English in equipping students with the necessary cosmopolitan capacities. The first part of this paper discusses the roots of a communicative cosmopolitan impulse in language through the works of key philosophers, namely Jürgen Habermas and Emmanuel Levinas. The second part analyzes English Language and Literature in English national syllabuses from the 1980s to the present to show how English education has been directed by strategic cosmopolitanism operating through selective governmental strategies of differentiation and prioritization. Given the realities of an increasingly networked world, I argue, in the third part, for a more holistic perspective of English education grounded on a communicative cosmopolitan intent.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
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    ABSTRACT: This paper offers a broad overview of vocational education in Singapore. Looking at vocational education from Independence, it argues that the development of a skilled labour force was not only crucial in the age of globalisation and the dominance of multinational companies, but also an empirical litmus test of the newly elected post-colonial government to self-govern. By the mid-to-late 1970s, Singapore's ‘Second Industrial Revolution’ to attract more skill-intensive industries demanded that vocational education kept pace with a more integrated and dynamic global economy. However, vocational education suffered from a less than prestigious image. It is argued that the government's rhetoric on meritocracy and elitist policies did little to address this image at a time when the middle class was developing its own characteristics, tastes and values. This paper concludes that while vocational education in Singapore has been constructed as a success story, there are several hidden narratives. From the overrepresentation of Malay students to increased stratification, to the gendering of schools, these hidden narratives reflect dominant interests and values.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 09/2014; 35(5).
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 08/2014;
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 08/2014;
  • Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 07/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Current times are witnessing multiple challenges in the economic, political and social domain, which modern citizens and professionals are required to address with an enterprising mindset. Young people have not been left intact by the spirit of new capitalism. In the face of ongoing educational changes on a European level, being a student transcends the boundaries of the school community. Young people thus oscillate between different identities: on the one hand, that of the child who lives in the here and now, and on the other hand, that of the pseudo-adult and in-the-make professional. In this light, the paper explores the new role of the professional student and discusses the implications of a neoliberal student model. It concludes by proposing a more humanistic understanding of the student role, which positions young people in a dynamic learning process and relationship with the world around them.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 07/2014; 35(4).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this article, we focus on the interaction in a Year 5 classroom where students fill in a ‘self-evaluation form’ as a preparation for a forthcoming discussion on progress aiming at the production of an Individual Developmental Plan. Drawing on the theoretical concepts of fabrications and performativity, we understand this as an enactment of policy where both teacher and students become actors and subjects. From using document analysis together with conversation analysis as a methodological approach, we show how the ‘self-evaluation’ in interaction becomes a successful exercise in fabrications as teacher and student negotiate conceptions of the ideal student in relation to self-knowledge and school demands. The article is an empirically grounded contribution to the understanding of how policies are interpreted and made into being by local actors in everyday practices, in this case teachers and students in schools.
    Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 07/2014; 35(4).