Stephen Ball

Stephen Ball
University College London | UCL · Institute of Education

Bachelor of Arts (Sociology), MA Sociological Studies, PhD. Hon.Doc (Turku), D.Litt (Leicester)

About

319
Publications
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Introduction
Policy analysis, policy and social theory

Publications

Publications (319)
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we examine a set of complexly related education policy issues that concern changes to the form and technologies of the state, and changing modalities of government and processes of policy and service delivery, and concomitantly, the re-agenting of education policy within extensive but exclusive policy networks. We also explore the ro...
Article
This article explores some aspects of the relation between neoliberalisation and the increasing use of digital technologies in school classrooms. It does this in relation to a specific case – a specific school, classroom and a fictionalised child – Sarah, who stands as a historical singularity and an exemplary space of relations. Sarah’s classroom...
Article
The paper argues that the modern school is an ‘intolerable’ institution.¹1 We refer to the modern school in Foucault’s sense of modernity as an attitude and a power/knowledge regime. That is, a form of power that developed since the sixteenth century, drawing on and expanding an older technique of ‘pastoral’ power that has it’s origins in Christian...
Book
Full-text available
A metapesquisa pode ser brevemente conceituada como pesquisas sobre pesquisas, realizadas com o objetivo de melhorar as pesquisas sobre um determinado campo, tema ou área de investigação. Este livro apresenta aspectos teórico-metodológicos, conceituais e práticos da metapesquisa no campo da Política Educacional. A metapesquisa é uma proposta recent...
Article
Many schools and students across the globe are now engaging with educational digital platforms in their teaching and learning experience. Platforms are changing what education is and how it is experienced. In response, educational research has devoted increasing attention to the so-called platformisation of education. This article contributes to th...
Article
The academisation of schooling in Northern England is an example of a new mode of educational governance that promises greater autonomy for schools and school leaders. A common claim regarding the benefits of academisation is that it will improve student outcomes by delivering greater autonomy for Headteachers. In this paper, six Headteachers from...
Article
This paper considers the sociology of education (SOE) as a modern human science. It suggests that the SOE is mired in a set of unreflexive, redemptive, Enlightment rationalities, and explores the messy relationships of the sociology with education that result from this. It is argues that the sociology of education has consistently failed to distanc...
Article
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The digital revolution in education is sustained by the belief that digital technologies carry with them the potential for an ethical renewal of learning according to the neoliberal principle of freedom. In this article we problematise the ethical effects of the encounter between Blended Learning as a techno-educational form and neoliberalism, focu...
Article
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Neoliberal policy technologies are spreading across the globe. Most go unrecognised and unopposed, but in some cases, they have provoked reactions and movements that reject or resist them. In this article we focus on one such movement of resistance, consisting of a network of families (the ‘opt out’ movement) that is boycotting the Standard Assessm...
Article
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Meritocracy is used by governments in many societies as an ‘effective’ way to represent social justice and legitimise – explain away – class inequality. By focusing on a small number of working-class students who achieve academic ‘success’ and have reached elite universities in an ideal meritocratic environment – Chinese schooling – this paper aims...
Article
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studies in relation to working-class students at elite universities document on the one hand the role of ‘mundane reflexivity’ in dealing with class domination while on the other indicate a new form of domination and disadvantages working on these working-class ‘exceptions’ – they may achieve academically at university but experience various exclus...
Article
Building on the work of others, this article sketches out what a Foucauldian ‘education’ might look like in practice, considers some of the challenges, paradoxes and (im)possibilities with which such an ‘education’ would face us, and indicates some of the cherished conceits and reiterated necessities that we must give up if we take seriously the ne...
Article
Some authors argue that access to elite universities can bring about a ‘habitus transformation’ for working-class students, however in this paper, based on a three-year life history study, it is suggested that the transformative effects of the elite university experience come about in relation to and constrained by the working-class habitus. Workin...
Chapter
Most work on the Global Education Industry (GEI) has focused on the role and growth of the ‘big players’—the multi-national corporations (e.g. Pearson, McKinsey, Microsoft, and News Corporation) or major global philanthropic foundations (Gates, Broad, Walton, Omidyar, etc.)—and has sought to map their national and global reach, their programs and i...
Article
Social Networks Analysis (SNA) has become increasingly popular with education policy researchers over the last decades. Network ethnography is made up of a set of techniques that directly engage with the new policy topography. In the space available this chapter explores some of the relationships, connections, activities, movements, sites, and even...
Article
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This article draws on case studies of four English schools to explore some of the ways in which trade union representatives in these schools see their roles and the role of their unions in relation to how policy gets done in their schools. The article attempts two things. First, it details and describes some discomforts, oppositions and resistances...
Chapter
This chapter outlines the main elements of “network ethnography” which has been developed as a set of techniques and a research sensibility appropriate to the study of the functioning of global education policy networks and policy communities. It focuses on one aspect of the method of network ethnography: the role of conference attendance. The chap...
Article
Full-text available
Increasingly, on a global scale, education policy is being done in new ways, in new spaces by new actors, and many of these new spaces are private. Here some examples of these changing arts of government - the politics of ‘not governing too much’ - that are intrinsic to competition state, are explored. The concomitant processes of the financialisat...
Chapter
This chapter asks—what can we learn from Foucault the teacher, the intellectual? How can we use Foucault to uneducate ourselves? It answers that we are invited to learn an attitude, a method, a relation to our own historicity, and our existence within and in relation to power. We are invited to learn the possibility of modifying our relation to our...
Chapter
This chapter takes up the possibility of ‘lines of fragility’ explored in Chap. 2, in relation to education, through Foucault’s later work on subjectivity and ‘the care of the self’. It both considers subjectivity as a significant site of political struggle and education and explores some of the techniques of care that Foucault draws upon—from Grec...
Chapter
This chapter explores education as one nexus of Foucault’s three vectors of analysis or ‘aspects of experience’—truth, power, and subjectivity. It further considers how the changing emphases between these vectors in Foucault’s oeuvre can enable us to think about education differently. I put these vectors to work in relation to a exploratory and ver...
Article
In this paper we focus on one specific case to explore how networks of governance and concomitant processes of "heterarchization” operate in practice in education. We analyse the relationship between the Brazilian Federal Government and an advocacy coalition for national learning standards, named Mobilization for the National Learning Standards (MN...
Article
This paper asks the question: to what extent do inspection regimes, particularly the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), influence the work of a school, and how might that influence be conceptualised? It draws on an ESRC-funded study of ‘policy enactments in secondary schools’, which was based on case-study work in four ‘ordinary’ schools....
Book
The Education Reform Act introduced in England and Wales in 1988 brought about enormous changes in schools, both as management units and as educational institutions. This book, first published in 1992, was the first to look at the effects of the Act in all its aspects on the basis of empirical evidence gathered from schools over the first three yea...
Article
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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 a...
Book
Edu.net builds upon, and extends, a series of research studies of education policy networks and global policy mobilities. It draws on comprehensive data resulting from a Leverhulme Trust research study focused on Africa, and a study funded by the British Academy focused on India, which explored the wayin which global actors and organisations bring...
Book
This book considers Foucault as educator in three main ways. First, through some consideration of what his work says about education as a social and political practice. That is, education as a form of what Allen (2014) calls benign violence – which operates through mundane, quotidian disciplinary technologies and expert knowledges which together co...
Chapter
This chapter begins with a very brief survey of current education policy in England, it describes a system of schooling riven with divisions, inequalities, alienation, failure, despondency and bias – 6 evils (See EHRC (2010) How Fair is Britain? London: Equality and Human Rights Commission; OECD (2011) Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising,...
Book
Full-text available
El gobierno de lo educativo y de cada centro escolar se está modificando de manera profunda y acelerada. Ante las preguntas fundamentales: ¿qué es una buena escuela?, y ¿cómo debería gobernarse un centro educativo para convertirse en una buena escuela o un buen instituto para todo el alumnado, para los docentes y para las familias?, las respuestas...
Article
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 Pe...
Chapter
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This chapter offers a general overview of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's education policy (2010-2015) and attends to some specific features and trends. It has not been possible to comment directly on the early years, further and higher education as our emphasis is on the compulsory sector. However, the main trends and emph...
Chapter
This chapter will present a worked through example of a contemporary global education policy network and the various connectivities that structure and animate the network. These connectivities are financial, discursive, facilitative, and social. They make possible the flow of policy ideas, policy modalities, and policy technologies, and the dissemi...
Article
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Based on the ‘case’ of educational reform in India, this paper explores the emergence of both new trans-national spaces of policy and new intra-national spaces of policy and how they are related together, and how policies move across and between these spaces and the relationships that enable and facilitate such movement. The paper is an attempt to...
Chapter
My career in education – moral and occupational – has been marked by dramatic changes and dramatic continuities in what it means to be educated. As a sociological life and as an intellectual journey my biography seems to consist of a set of ruptures and tensions and inconsistencies. These remain unresolved and are difficult to explain but form the...
Article
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Article
This is an attempt to review what I am now. To give some coherence to an incoherent academic life, written against the background of profound changes is what it means to be an academic. The paper begins in a welfare state primary school and ends in a global neoliberal university.
Article
This paper extends the author’s previous enquiries and discussions of governmentality and neoliberal policy technologies in a number of ways. The paper explores the specificity and generality of performativity as a particular contemporary mode of power relations. It addresses our own imbrication in the politics of performative truths, through our o...
Book
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This collection is an inside look at European Commission policy-making in education and the privatization of policy-making in the European Union. Along with contributions from leading academics in the field of European educational policy and policy-sociology, this book also introduces the 'absent voices' in the policy privatization debate: policy c...
Article
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This paper is a reflection on What is policy? Texts, Trajectories and Tool Boxes, which was first published in 1993, in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. It looks back to what the 1993 paper was trying to do and at some of the developments of the ideas first sketched there in my later work, in particular in the book How Scho...
Chapter
The adoption of neoliberal rationalities is changing the way in which social relations and institutional practices are conceived and organized. Working together, these changes here are part of a global shift, with local idiosyncratic variations, from disciplinary societies (Foucault, 1979) to societies of control (Deleuze, 1992, p. 174), which ‘no...
Chapter
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Como Jenny Ozga (2008) dice muy acertadamente, vivimos "gobernados por los números", los números de diferentes aspectos de nuestras vidas nos clasifican, nos comparan y nos categorizan. Los números definen nuestro valor, miden nuestra efectividad y trabajan de muchas formas distintas para informar sobre o construir lo que hoy somos. Estamos también...
Article
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In this paper we suggest the need for research which addresses school choice as a global phenomenon. That is, a form of choice which extends beyond local politics and policymaking. We consider here the educational choices and choice making contexts of a burgeoning, mobile, post-national middle class who operate on a global scale. We also sketch the...
Article
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This article analyses some aspects about the privatization of education and of education policy as an international phenomenon of increasing significance. It explores how the world of education is changing and education is changing in the world by looking at the international reach, complexity and dynamism of the education services industry (ESI)....
Article
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Drawing on a study of education policy enactments in four English secondary schools, this paper argues that different ‘types’ of policies call-up different forms of enactments, and that teachers and others who work in schools will have different orientations towards some of these possible ways of ‘doing’ school. Through exploring the ways in which...
Article
Full-text available
Este artículo trata de una discusión sobre la performance y la performatividad en la educación y en la política social. Parte de una concepción de performance como medida de productividad y desempeño y de performatividad como tecnología, cultura y modo de regulación. Busca, entonces, realizar un análisis crítico de las nuevas formas regulativas que...
Article
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This article explores the increasing commercialisation of education through the empirical case of Teach For All, a network of social enterprises which is spreading a new model of teacher training across Europe and around the world. This model, which is supported and funded by a heterogeneous mix of public institutions and private sector organisatio...
Article
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This paper draws on qualitative data exploring the experiences of first-generation middle-class Black Caribbean-heritage parents, their own parents, and their children. We focus on the different ways in which race and class intersect in shaping attitudes towards education and subsequent educational practices. We argue that the nature of racism has...
Article
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This paper explores some of the educational reforms which are taking place in Brazil and sets these within a ‘global overview’ which pays close attention to the trends and commonalities which can be seen in neo-liberal education reforms around the world. We will outline a number of interrelated processes that are acting on the school as a workplace...
Article
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This paper addresses some recent changes in the landscape of state education in England. In particular, it focuses on the way in which Academies, state-funded independent schools introduced by New Labour and now being drastically extended and taken further by the Coalition government, are contributing to the ongoing and increasing blurring of the w...
Article
Este artigo explora aspectos das reformas educacionais que estão ocorrendo no Brasil, relacionando-os com uma ‘visão global’ que se aproxima das tendências e semelhanças que podem ser encontradas nas reformas educativas neoliberais em todo o mundo. Nós vamos delinear inúmeros processos inter-relacionados que se fazem presentes na escola como um loc...
Article
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Drawing on data collected during a 2-year Economic and Social Research Council-funded project exploring the educational perspectives and strategies of middle-class families with a Black Caribbean heritage, this paper examines how participants, in professional or managerial occupations, position themselves in relation to the label ‘middle class’. Ou...
Article
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The enrolment of middle-class children in extra-curricular activities is a recent trend in many affluent countries. It is part of what Annette Lareau refers to as a classed parenting style – ‘concerted cultivation’ which sees the child as a project with skills and talents to be fostered and developed. Controversially, Lareau argued that class, rath...
Book
First published in 1990, this book was the first to explore Foucault's work in relation to education, arguing that schools, like prisons and asylums, are institutions of moral and social regulation, complex technologies of disciplinary control where power and knowledge are crucial. Original and challenging, the essays assess the relevance of Foucau...
Article
Full-text available
While a great deal of attention has been given to evaluating how well policies are implemented, that is, how well they are realised in practice, less attention has been paid to understanding and documenting the ways in which schools actually deal with the multiple, and sometimes opaque and contradictory demands of different ‘types’ of policy. This...
Article
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Resistance is normally thought of as a collective exercise of public political activity. In this article, Ball and Olmedo approach the question of resistance in a different way, through Foucault's notion of ‘the care of the self’. Neoliberal reforms in education are producing new kinds of teaching subjects, new forms of subjectivity. It makes sense...
Article
Do private and philanthropic solutions to the problems of education signal the end of state education in its ‘welfare’ form?
Article
Full-text available
Foucault, Power, and Education invites internationally renowned scholar Stephen J. Ball to reflect on the importance and influence of Foucault on his work in educational policy. By focusing on some of the ways Foucault has been placed in relation to educational questions or questions about education, Ball highlights the relationships between Foucau...
Article
Full-text available
This paper, based on ESRC‐funded research work in four case study schools, explores the ‘pressures’ to ‘deliver’ which bear upon English secondary schools in relation to GCSE performance. It further illustrates the ways in which pressure is transformed into tactics which focus on particular students, with the effect of ‘rationing’ education in the...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports on data drawn from a study exploring the educational strategies of 62 Black Caribbean heritage middle-class parents. In this paper, we consider the respective roles of race and class in the shaping of parents’ educational strategies, deploying an analysis that focuses on their intersection and seeks to hold both race and class in...
Conference Paper
This paper draws on a 2½ year qualitative study (2008-2011) in four ‘ordinary’ English secondary schools which explored how schools enact, rather than implement policy. Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the research worked on the interface of theory with data, arguing that it is only possible to begin to think sensibly about po...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Edu.Net (with Carolina Junemann and Diego Santori) is about a global education policy community made up of philanthropists and edu-businesses and their role in the reform of education. Foucault as Educator addresses what we might 'learn' from Foucault, is about the 'impossibility' of education, and what a Foucauldian education might look like.