Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education

Published by Taylor & Francis
Online ISSN: 1469-3739
Print ISSN: 0159-6306
Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion about the impact of globalization on universities. Globalization theorists seek to explain how neoliberal strategies have transformed the economic infrastructure of countries; in turn globalization has forced universities to become more market oriented while government invests less in tertiary education. By way of 126 interviews with academic staff, administrators, and related personnel, the author investigates the redefinitions of academic work in a globalized economy. The author works from a cultural perspective of organizations to understand the changing nature of academic work. The author first outlines the problems that he found and concludes by suggesting how to resolve the problems. Among other suggestions, the importance of institutional mission and the role of the intellectual in the life of the university are considered.
This article uses a fictionalized scenario to examine how three students at an "ordinary" suburban high school in Canada negotiate the context-specific conditions, discourses, and practices that make schools important sites of identity formation. It argues that drawing from Foucault's ideas on the "subjection" of individuals, as well as from the field of performance studies, provides a fresh perspective to redress the potential mismatches between official multicultural education discourses and the lived schooling realities of students. In the process, it demonstrates how subjection and adolescent performativity can be useful analytics through which to understand student identities and/in schooling. The article concludes with some implications for shifts in policy, pedagogy, and practice to help schools engage with student diversity.
The following article, through the tenets of critical race theory, seeks to investigate the relationship between theory and practice in school-community relationships. By investigating the views, values, and perceptions of three African-American community organizers in Chicago, Illinois, the following account offers a "challenge" to traditional theoretical constructs in addressing the needs of students of color in urban schools. The work of community organizers in schools highlights the necessity of viable relationships between schools and communities in the execution of viable approaches to critically analyze the world of young people while developing practical approaches to address their realities. In an attempt to challenge hegemony in public education the author offers critical race theory as a feasible construct in praxis development.
Bullying behaviours remain common in schools despite an abundance of policies and programs aimed at curbing them. In this paper, the author argues that such policies and programs are problematic not because they are flawed in themselves, but because they draw from the dominant and usual ideas about what bullying is taken to be. These ideas are presented as more fundamental problems that contribute to 'wheel-spinning' where efforts to reduce bullying are concerned. Key concepts that inform such ideas, specifically safety and diversity, are interrogated. The paper advocates for a new framework by which to think about and conceptualize bullying that moves away from those that highlight behavioural and developmental perspectives. Implications for education administration, especially with regard to supporting marginalized students, are explored.
This paper deals with a project establishing an Indigenous Australian artists-in-residence program at a regional Australian primary school to foreground its Black History. Primary school students worked with Indigenous Australian story tellers, artists, dancers and musicians to explore ways in which they could examine print and non-print texts for a critical appreciation of ways in which their school has been positioned in the physical landscape on the land, and in the historical landscape, where Indigenous Australian roles and contributions have continued to be marginalised. From such critical engagement, the children have created non-print texts of their own: tangible, durable artefacts of acknowledgment of their own school's Black History. Constructed as texts which may be read by all who enter the school, the artefacts produced are visual texts that have formed part of a continuing critical engagement with creators of Indigenous Australian texts, and interpretation by the children of the texts that they have engaged as part of this project.
This article takes a detailed look at how a group of 10-year-old boys mutually construct an evolving multilinear scenario whilst playing a storytelling game in class, borrowing from a number of genres and forms of engagement in ICT-mediated popular culture to perform for each other in patterns which defy linear description or analysis. Their playful production challenges standard means of representing and analysing transcript, necessitating a paradigm shift to a more visual form of discourse mapping. This visual method of analysis is drawn from complexity theory and fractal geometry. The article uses this analysis to raise questions about the criteria which teachers use to assess language competence as ICT-mediated popular culture continues to powerfully reconfigure the language context surrounding schools, (Buckingham, 20005. Buckingham , D. 2000. After the death of childhood: Growing up in the age of electronic media, Cambridge: Polity Press. View all references). In conclusion, the article reflects on the consequences for both teachers and children's learning identities and practices.
This article aims to explore some of the ways in which the cultural meanings and practices of gender, sexuality and relationships intersect with and are reworked in the same-sex friendships of children aged nine to eleven. Using material from an ethnographic study, it focuses on two boys, Ben and Karl, who identified themselves as best friends. The article argues that, while the boys clearly knew, positioned themselves in and deployed heterosexual discourse, their relationship to this was complex. In particular, they appeared to use it to distance themselves from the feminine and to build their friendship as a pleasurable, intimate and exciting space. The article uses psychoanalytic arguments to explore this material, tentatively suggesting that the boys' access to the cultural practice of 'best friendship' mobilised identifications that both reinforced conventional versions of heterosexual masculinity and questioned these. In particular, the article suggests that the boys' friendship may have involved 'over-inclusive' gender identifications - ones that indicate the existence of boyhood masculinities that are more capacious and flexible than those hegemonic in teenage and adolescent cultures.
This analysis of education coverage in the national media examines the kind of events that attract media attention, and shows how subsequent education stories get worked up by the tabloid press into a generalized comment on social issues. Such 'meta-stories' are ways of commenting not only on the events themselves, and interrelated themes of school standards, but also on wider issues of morality, discipline, and social order. The study examines how blame gets apportioned by the press, both overtly, as in headline statements, and implicitly, in the recruitment of outside opinions, and in the choice of specific words to describe events. A discourse analysis of news stories shows how descriptions construct events as meaningful, as news sensation, and as a general reflection of social disruption and moral decline.
In this article, I explore a case study of the special education referral process as an institutional site of exploring the intersection of power, discourse and subjectivities. I engage with critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) (Fairclough, Critical Discourse Analysis: the critical study of language, New York, Longman, 1995; Language and Power, London, Longman, 1989) as an analytic and social tool to uncover the webs of discursive practices involved in institutional decision-making. I focus on the process through which identities are constructed through discourse. I present three different interpretations from the beginning of the referral process: (1) the classroom teacher, (2) the remedial reading teacher, and (3) the parent of the child who was referred. In juxtaposing these interview texts I demonstrate how the teachers and June Treader, the parent, perceive the intention of the referral process differently. The school views the referral process as definitive while the mother views the referral as exploratory, to learn more about her daughter. I call on CDA--particularly the domains of discourse and style--as a means to explore and explain the differences in assumptions at the beginning of the referral process. This analysis demonstrates that despite the differences in interpretation at the beginning of the process there is remarkable similarity between the three participants around the values, beliefs and assumptions of 'schooled literacy'. This research suggests the need to expand on frameworks that conceptualize 'conflict' between discourse practices to consider the consequences of alignment.
Sex and pleasure are fundamental aspects of students' lives and school cultures. They are also integral to students' sense of well-being and can determine their propensity to engage or disengage with the desire to love, learn and transform themselves. Taking the fundamental role of pleasure as its starting point, this paper discusses the idea of how a Foucaultian inspired "ethics of pleasure" might be used to proliferate ways of reading, producing and experiencing research related to sexualities and schooling in Australia and the United States. This "ethics of pleasure" is considered through a reading of two texts, Young, Gay and Proud (YGP) (1978), a text written for lesbian and gay young people by an autonomous collective of the Melbourne Gay Teachers' and students' Group (MGTSG) and, a letter written to Dan Savage, a nationally syndicated "agony aunt" in the United States.
This paper focuses on the relationship between the media and educational policies in the context of the ‘neoliberal newspeak’, which has characterized the current circulation of ideas in cultural production. Using framing theory, this article presents a critical discourse analysis on the editorials published about the 2011 student movement by El Mercurio, the most influential newspaper in Chile. El Mercurio is more than a newspaper. It is an institution; an institution that supports conservative ideas. El Mercurio framed the public discussion about educational policies and defended neoliberal education based on three discourses: the neoliberal system is absolute, public education is valued less than private and education is a technical issue, not political. By invoking this rhetoric strategy, these discourses attempted to maintain the neoliberal education system in Chile, which in turn rejected the social struggles of the student movement.
As a response to the 2013 special issue of Discourse on marketisation and equity in education, this paper suggests it is important to understand how school sectors (independent, Catholic and government) continue to play a significant role in how we constitute education, markets and equity in Australia. The first part of this paper provides a genealogy of school funding in Australia, giving an overview of how Australia has reached the current state of ‘sector-blind’ school funding. We also focus on the shift in Australian schooling from a public good for national collective well-being to a private, positional good for individual advancement. The second part of the paper suggests that the notion of ‘sector-blindness’ is part of a depoliticisation of educational politics. We work from the premise that education is always and everywhere already a political project. We critique some absences in the special issue around ‘colour-blindness’ and in a coda to the paper, we provide the basis for renewing and politicising the debate about education policy by offering a ‘debate-redux’, that provides some possibilities about forms of democratic politics and education.
This article comments on leadership within mainstream literature on school effectiveness/improvement, where it is almost always considered to be a factor of change. The article argues that systemic school improvement, particularly for disadvantaged children, is inextricably linked to wider social, economic and political conditions - in South Africa's case, the political transition from apartheid to democratic government. These structural conditions and specific historical contexts are often glossed over in models of school effectiveness/improvement. Through an analysis of dysfunctional and resilient schools as a legacy of apartheid, and of the slow reconstruction of education in the post-apartheid period, the article argues for the importance of political legitimacy and authority in school improvement. The article concludes by suggesting that states in transition require a different theoretical lens in order to understand the impact of wider social changes on schools. In such societies, the establishment of legitimacy and authority is a precondition for sustainable effectiveness and improvement, and this has implications for theorising the role of leadership in school change more generally.
This article addresses how capacity is conceived of and understood in youth media/civic education programming, and how beliefs about agency, development, relationality and youth manifests in the discourses, programmes, and practices of organizations operating youth media programmes. Through attention to a youth media and development programme in rural Nicaragua, the article addresses a key gap in theorizing how capacity operates within discourses and related practices that constitute ‘youth media’ and, in particular, it critically investigates how youth media discourse rests on an assumed foundation where capacity is defined as agency, empowerment or voice. This article situates youth media production within modernist discourses about education, development and ‘change’, in order to re-conceptualize agency through a mobilities framework that more fully attends to the complex and affective moments in youth media discourses.
This paper applies a Butlerian-inspired ‘queer(y)ing’ methodology to disrupt the utility of agency being framed within the binary of escape and coercion. In particular, it uses Butler's concept of performative resignification to analyse how Simon, a 16-year-old white male student, maneouvres his way through the social conventions of senior subject selection at his secondary school which is located in an outer-metropolitan suburb of Queensland in Australia. Queer theory is often caught up in a habit of thinking that positions it predominantly within the field of gender and sexualities research, thus limiting and constraining what it can do and where it can be used. By using a queer(y)ing methodology to explore senior schooling subject selection and participation, this paper also disrupts and expands the parameters of association with queer theory.
Schooling interfaces are not very permeable. Despite sustained efforts by many on either side, they remain barriers that are crossed with difficulty. As a result, educators working within schools may feel isolated while those on the outside may feel at a loss how to intervene. This paper attempts to work at this interface and to speak to educators, policy makers and academics who are differently positioned on either side of it. The paper attempts to provide an account of schooling that makes learning one of its effects and that makes a difference for students from low-income families. This account of schooling is underpinned by a commitment to aligning curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and developing a common language and understanding of these message systems of schooling. Findings from the large-scale Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study and descriptions of teachers' work are integral to this discussion that addresses the enduring concern for social justice in schools.
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.
Enrolments in secondary schools, 2001-2006, by category of school
In Australia there is growing interest in a national curriculum to replace the variety of matriculation credentials managed by State Education departments, ostensibly to address increasing population mobility. Meanwhile, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is attracting increasing interest and enrolments in State and private schools in Australia, and has been considered as one possible model for a proposed Australian Certificate of Education. This paper will review the construction of this curriculum in Australian public discourse as an alternative frame for producing citizens, and ask why this design appeals now, to whom, and how the phenomenon of its growing appeal might inform national curricular debates. The IB’s emergence is understood with reference to the larger context of neo-liberal marketization policies, neo-conservative claims on the curriculum and middle class strategy. The paper draws on public domain documents from the IB Organisation and newspaper reportage to demonstrate how the IB is constructed for public consumption in Australia.
In this paper I explore connections between women, art education and spatial relations drawing on the Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of machinic assemblage as a useful analytical tool for making sense of the heterogeneity and meshwork of life narratives and their social milieus. In focusing on Mary Bradish Titcomb, a fin-de-sie`cle Bostonian woman who lived and worked in the interface of education and art, moving in between differentiated series of social, cultural and geographical spaces, I challenge an image of narratives as unified and coherent representations of lives and subjects; at the same time I am pointing to their importance in opening up microsociological analyses of deterritorializations and lines of flight. What I argue is that an attention to space opens up paths for an analytics of becomings, and enables the theorization of open processes, multiplicities and nomadic subjectivities in the field of gender and education. Published (author's copy) Peer Reviewed
In a discussion of Deleuze's theorization of concepts, Todd May asks “what can a concept do with that which cannot be identified?” Or to put it another way, May writes – “A concept is a way of addressing the difference that lies beneath the identities we experience.” This is not to say that identities, concepts, and experiences are linked in particular ways. The possibility of extending what a concept can do is also brought under scrutiny by Ann Burlein, who draws on the work of Elizabeth Wilson to argue “Feminism needs to engage with scientific authority not simply at those sites where it [science] takes women as its objects, but also in the neutral zones, in those places where feminism appears to have no place or political purchase.” “Why not feminist critiques of the liver or the stomach, she asks?” Such styles of thought are the inspiration for this paper. We argue that queer concepts in education should not stop at places where education takes queer bodies as its objects, but that queer concepts have an important role to play in places where, at first glance, they appear to have no place or purchase.
The paper works with queer and feminist post-human materialist scholarship to understand the way young teen valleys' girls experienced ubiquitous feelings of fear, risk, vulnerability and violence. Longitudinal ethnographic research of girls (aged 12–15) living in an ex-mining semi-rural community suggests how girls are negotiating complex gendered and sexual mores of valleys' life. We draw on Deleuze and Guatarri's concept of ‘becomings’ emerging in social–material–historical ‘assemblages’ to map how the gendered and queer legacies of the community's equine past surfaces affectively in girls' talk about horses. Our cartography traces a range of ‘transversal flashes’ in which girls' lives and their activities with horses resonate with a local history coloured by the harsh conditions of mining as well as liberatory moments of ‘pure desire’. We creatively explore Deleuze and Guatarri's provocation to return desire to its polymorphous revolutionary force. Instead of viewing girls as needing to be empowered, transformed or rerouted, we emphasise the potential of what girls already do and feel and the more-than-human assemblages which enable these desires.
This article draws upon an empirical research project investigating the notion of flexibility in the context of UK further education, and explores some of the ways in which further education colleges are constituted through spatial modes of representation as particular kinds of places. Our analysis of this data explores a possible association of flexibility with a historical move from modernist 'spaces of enclosure' to the 'limitless postponements' of postmodern 'societies of control' (Deleuze, Postscript on the Society of Control, 1992). We also outline the dynamic conception of a spatiality that is 'constantly in the process of being made' in the intersection of social relations and social processes (Massey, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 24(3) 1999, pp. 261- 276). These ideas provide reference points for a discussion of place, and suggest a paradox when flexibility is treated as liberation from the constraints of time and place, while further education colleges are represented as desirable places in which to be firmly located on the inside.
Play school is an icon of Australian children's television and an important part of Australian life - this programme, perhaps more than any other, has taken and continues to take centre stage in our living rooms and social worlds as young children. Play school is invested with an enormous amount of cultural capital and hence plays a significant role in the way that children engage and learn about social interaction, life and values in Australian culture. Aimed at preschoolers under the age of five, everything in the programme is done to relate as closely as possible to the social world and developmental level of the child and thereby assist their social, psychological and cognitive development. Through a combination of songs and dances, stories, dress up games and moments to 'look through the window' into the real world outside Play school, children are presented with a variety of sounds and images to engage with social concepts. In this paper we explore discourses of race, otherness and Indigeneity on Play school by deconstructing Aboriginalist images and representations featured on the programme and in doing so ask questions about the types of 'race making' that this programme engages in.
This paper examines how prominent private schools in Australia are performing in a market context according to the tenets of performativity. From a discourse analysis of promotional materials that include prospectuses, advertisements, and school publications, it considers the “value‐addedness” that these schools purport to offer. In this regard, ideas such as building self‐esteem and emotional intelligence are not only being used for market advantage but are also being nicely conflated with religious principles to produce the “whole” child with market edge. This paper draws on a recent research study of 30 elite Australian schools. As new practices of identity formation and self‐presentation are investigated, questions are raised about issues of fabrication in performativity‐inspired practices of marketisation.
In this paper I use a governmentality framework to explore the growth of women's mentoring programmes in Australian universities over the last 10-15 years. These programmes are supported because they speak to institutional concerns with improving performance in a performative culture, while being seen to deal with the problem of gender inequity. I draw on the mentoring experiences of two women academics from a larger study to illustrate the ways women are governed and self-govern, and negotiate subjectivities through mentoring. This reading locates mentoring within a network of institutional power relations, in so doing unsettling the truths we hold about mentoring as always good and unproblematic. It offers an important account of why mentoring has become so popular in these places in these times and reflects on the implications for feminist political goals.
This article explores the different forms of professional guidance negotiated by mothers as they search for a primary school placement for their child diagnosed with autism. The intensely contested terrain of whether segregated or ‘regular’ classrooms would be ‘better’ for the child shapes the contours of both professional guidance and maternal decision-making. Interviews with 22 women whose children were about to start primary school in Sydney, Australia, allows an exploration of the ways women engage with or reject professional guidance, offered by paediatricians, psychologists, early intervention professionals, and education providers. Mothers frequently received conflicting professional guidance, and felt conflicted about their schooling decisions, especially when students are labelled ‘borderline’. Overall, recent suggestions of a democratisation of autism expertise are not supported by this research, which underlines the need to analyse both the agency of mothers and the power differentials that continue to exist between families and experts.
This article is concerned with a dimension of young people's civic education beyond socialisation that is neither confined to the sphere of political decision-making, nor to the achievement of a particular civic identity. The two case studies emphasise the role and importance of significant others and of democratic and non-democratic relationships, engagements and practices in the everyday lives of the young people. Whilst schools have a duty to teach young people how to act and behave in a responsible way within a democratic society, they also have a unique opportunity to foster and maintain a safe environment where young people can originate action, respond to the actions of others and be citizen-subjects.
This article provides a historical overview of civic educational policy and political discourse in Singapore from 1959 to 2011, focusing on changes in the role attributed to students in the education process. A review of educational programmes and analysis of political speeches reveals that an earlier transmissionist approach that focused on value inculcation and factual knowledge has been supplemented recently by policy and discourse emphasizing student engagement. The authors link their analysis to larger political changes that have been taking place in Singapore. They argue that the push for more participatory forms of civics education parallels an ongoing shift in the ruling party's political ideology from economic pragmatism to a communitarian ideology that emphasizes citizens' responsibility. From the point of view of political rationality, promoting active student engagement in civics education can be seen as governmental efforts to build a strong civil society through early socialization into civic responsibility and voluntarism. Viewed as a technology of power, engagement is also seen as a new biopolitical intervention aimed at regulating political participation.
This paper reads the fragmented life stories of four young black women in the UK, at a transitional point of their lives, when they are making decisions about their post-compulsory education. We argue that the notion of nomadism is a useful, albeit not unproblematic, tool to theorise the multifarious ways that these black young women negotiate subject positions, make choices and shape their lives. We further trace, how these women are struggling against fixity and unity and attempting to speak and act outside or beyond the positions available within the collectivities to which they belong. Finally, we point out that in travelling around unstable and contradictory subject positions they are sometimes caught up within fears of distortion, and ultimately choose to remain ‘at home’. This ‘home’, however, is rather formless and uncentred and far from being easily localizable and defined, interrogates ideas and perceptions about territories and borders. It is through this ‘new image’, that we can perhaps start thinking about ‘being at home’ in different ways, beyond restrictions and limitations of families, classes, gender groups, races or nations. Published (author's copy) Peer Reviewed
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published [following peer-review] in Discourse, published by and copyright Routledge. Whilst the association of risk with schools is predominately a negative one, fostering images of potential dangers, this paper draws upon a socio-cultural counter-discourse to explore the perceived benefits of certain risk taking activities within educational establishments. Using research data on school Internet “misuse” it is argued that some students benefit from engaging in boundary performance. This can be seen as a type of risky behaviour involving low level dangers that offer an escape from tedious routine through public displays of temporarily traversing boundaries. Furthermore, it is maintained that such activity may be a central element in identity construction. It is concluded that the concept of boundary performance has wider applications than merely explaining certain school Internet “misuse”, potentially helping practitioners and policy-makers to think more creatively about the educational process as well as offering insights into other “problematic” behaviour.
Despite calls for a more nuanced approach to issues of gender and equity that recognizes how broader relations of gender and power continue to produce injustices for many females, essentialized accounts expressing concern about boys' poor educational performance remain the most common refrain in dominant equity discourses across Western contexts. This common refrain characteristic of current large scale gender reforms, such as Australia's parliamentary inquiry into the education of boys, Boys: Getting it right, is driven by a standards rather than social justice focus and thus creates silences around issues of gender injustice, power, and constructions of hegemonic masculinity. In this paper, I present “Sally's” story as a disruption of these silences. Sally is a young English teacher at “Penfolds College”, an all boys Catholic school in a large urban centre in Queensland (Australia). Her story, in illustrating how particular boys draw on broader discourses of masculinity to sexually harass and intimidate her, highlights the inadequacies of dominant public and policy discourse in terms of its failure to locate boys' educational issues within broader contexts of inequitable gender relations.
This paper presents elements of an ethnographic case study of a group of five male friends between the ages of six and eight years. The study sought to examine the ways in which the group's social dynamics interacted to define, regulate and maintain collective understandings of masculinity. Dominant peer culture was found to be particularly potent in championing a hegemonic masculinity embodying and cultivating physical domination, aggression and violence underpinned by constructions of females and femininity as the negative 'other'. These restrictive understandings were interpreted as normalised through the philosophies and practices of the boys' teachers and their principal. Here the naturalist assumptions underpinning dominant early childhood pedagogy constituted the boys as 'gender innocent' and were implicated in understandings of developmentally appropriate practice. Through illuminating clear parallels to associated research, this paper presents further warrant for abandoning these naturalist assumptions which continue to mitigate against gender equity in early childhood (MacNaughton, Rethinking Gender in Early Childhood Education, St Leonards, Allen & Unwin, 2000). In this regard, the paper signifies the importance of maintaining a focus on addressing issues of collective masculinity in early childhood. Yes Yes
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.
This paper attempts to describe the relationship between the embodied practice of fieldwork and the written articulation of this experience. Starting from Valerie Hey's conceptualisation of 'rapport' as form of 'intersubjective synergy', a moment of recognition of similarity within difference – similar in structure to Laclau and Moufffe's conceptualization of hegemony – the paper explores how we can understand these moments of recognition as positioned within a complex web of signifying chains that interlink social, psychic and linguistic means of representation. Laclau and Mouffe's logics of equivalence and difference and Lacan's account of the production of meaning through metaphor and metonymy provide a theoretical language through which to explore chains of meaning in two fragments of data drawn from a study comparing disciplines and institutions in higher education. My argument is that an awareness of these processes of production of meaning is necessary to the development of an ethical mode of interpretation.
This paper draws upon Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, capital and field to better understand and appreciate the conditions which encouraged the productive professional development (PD) practices of one very capable teacher working in a secondary school in the British Midlands. Rather than celebrating this teacher's practices and perspective as evidence of the capacity of the heroic individual to overcome sometimes adverse circumstances, this paper reveals how the experiences of this teacher can be understood as an instance of the socially situated self, engaged by and engaging in an alternative politics to that associated with more managerial conceptions of teacher learning. This research calls for a cautious approach to those renderings of educational practice which construe the creative potential of the habitus, without sufficient regard for the actual conditions which contribute towards this creativity. In this way, this paper is presented not as an example of how one teacher overcame significant barriers to substantive learning practices – as a morality tale for other, individual educators to emulate – but as a provocation to suggest how some teachers' access to professional/community resources helps them sustain a clear focus on substantive learning.
In this paper we discuss the idea of national education in Singapore. National education, broadly speaking, is a civics programme which seeks to instil a sense of place, identity and history in young Singaporeans with a view to developing national pride and commitment. We set this discussion against the backdrop of globalization and the idea of wired communities and argue that any civics programme needs to be more than simply a nationalistic agenda. To do this we have framed national education in Singapore as a civics literacy informed by the idea of multiliteracies. In doing so, we suggest that the pedagogical work of such an approach can help to sustain the nation state of Singapore yet place the civics agenda on a global stage where national education might be seen more appropriately as global education.
This paper challenges notions of gendered game playing practice implicit in much research into young women's involvement with the computer gaming culture. It draws on a study of Australian teenagers playing The Sims Deluxe as part of an English curriculum unit and insights from feminist media studies to explore relationships between gender and game playing practices. Departing from a reliance on redetermined notions of "gender", "domestic space", and "successful game play", it conceptualizes The Sims as a game in which the boundaries between gender and domestic space are disturbed. It argues that observing students' constructions of gender and domestic space through the act ofgame play itself provides a more productive insight into the gendered dimensions of game play for educators wishing to work computer games such as TheSims into curriculum development. Yes Yes
Globalisation is often referred to as being external to education – a state of affairs presenting the modern curriculum with numerous challenges. In this article, ‘globalisation’ is examined as something that is internal to curriculum and analysed as a problematisation in a Foucaultian sense, that is, as a complex of attentions, worries and ways of reasoning, producing curricular variables. The analysis is made through an example of early childhood curriculum in Danish preschool, and the way the curricular variable of the preschool child comes into being through ‘globalisation’ as a problematisation, carried forth by comparative practices such as Programme for International Student Assessment. It thus explores some of the systems of reason that educational comparative practices carry through time, focusing on the ways in which configurations are reproduced and transformed, forming the preschool child as a site of economic optimisation.
'Children-becoming-dogs'. Author's photograph.
The Hardly Boys: Rescue (1993). Colour polaroid. (Reproduced with artist's permission).
This paper sets out to queer education's normative human-centric assumptions and to de-centre the straight and narrow vision of the child as only ever becoming an autonomous individual learner. It re-focuses upon the more-than-human learning that takes place when we pay attention to queerer aspects of children's, as well as our own, entangled becomings in the common worlds in which we live. In this case, the entangled becomings are those of children and dogs. Drawing upon Donna Haraway's notion of ‘queer worlding’ and Karen Barad's assertion of ‘nature's queer performativity’, the authors explore how we might go about ‘queer worlding’ childhood. Using deconstructive and diffractive methods, they trace a selection of entangled child–dog events across three sites: the streets of Hong Kong; an Australian early childhood education bush setting; and an exhibition in a Swedish art museum. Through narrating some of the more disconcerting aspects of these events, the authors reveal how we might tap into the ‘queer worlding’ ways in which the world is acting on us, even as we are acting on it.
In this paper we examine the discursive resources that year 4 and year 8 students draw on to construct meanings for health. Drawing on students' responses to tasks in the New Zealand National Monitoring Project (Crooks & Flockton, Health & Physical Education, University of Otago Educational Assessment Research Unit, 1999) we examine what students have to say about health, and speculate on where these responses have come from and on the implications of these for health education pedagogy. The students' responses indicate that they are well versed in "healthism" discourses that link practices like eating, exercise, smoking, drinking and taking drugs with "health". The students' responses also point to the construction of health knowledge as certain and static. Relatively little attention is paid to the social, cultural, economic or political contexts of people's lives. Indeed, the "typical" responses clearly point to the dominance of white; middle class values about health and fitness promoted in New Zealand society. We conclude by posing several questions generated for educators.
Research on school choice highlights the extent to which a communitarian impulse informs the way some parents engage with their role as chooser. This suggests that the responsibilities of parents as consumers are often negotiated in collective as well as individualizing terms. Drawing on data from a group of mothers of diverse social class and racial backgrounds, this paper builds on some of these perspectives through deploying elements of a critical discursive analytic approach. Its aim is to explore how some mothers engage with the meaning and practice of school choice. Focusing on the emotional laboring that often underpins mothers’ rationalizations of choice, this paper examines the discursive role of emotion in these contexts as a form of social action geared towards achieving certain ends. In turn I discuss the implications of this for thinking through choice as a framing, function and discourse inhabited and performed by mothers.
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.
Top-cited authors
Paul Morris
  • Institute of Education University College London
Annette Bamberger
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Eisuke Saito
  • Monash University (Australia)
Kaoru Matsunaga
  • Kansai University (Japan)
Melissa Barnes
  • Monash University (Australia)