23 SES 09 B, Education as Applied Politics: Unlocking Ideologies of Competition and Creating Alternative Futures in Education and Communities (Part 1)
Symposium: to be continued in 23 SES 09 B
Monbiot in the Guardian newspaper wrote “we are all neoliberals now” following the economic crisis in 2007 although many at the time thought it was the death knell of neoliberalism. The purpose of this double symposium is to unpack the ideologies inscribed in policies, organisational and cultural practices that lock education in schools and community agencies into being a delivery system operating under what Barber (2007) aptly encapsulated in the title of his book as an ‘Instruction to Deliver’.The danger of this is form of ‘managed democracy’, as Wolin (2008) called it, is what he saw as the spectre ‘totalitarianism’ and what others may see as the ‘corporatism’ (Molina and Rhodes 2002) inherent in markets dominated by and governments influenced by the interests of global corporations. Each symposium will take on board and deconstruct the ‘naturalness’ of neoliberal ideologies and forms of organisation to discuss alternative agenda for thinking about society and the role of education. To that end, the practices and forms of organisation of education are critically explored as a form of applied politics that counters what Crouch 2011 called the “strange non-death of neoliberalism” in order to unlock socially just alternatives. Papers for the linked symposia have been chosen to focus upon key dimensions of power and of empowering to discuss
what stops co-operative, democratic, emancipatory practices, discourses, and forms of organisation, and
what facilitates them.
The first Symposium will interrogate the ideologies and power structures that embed neoliberal forms of policy as a basis for exploring alternatives. As Bauman (2011) and others (Schostak and Schostak 2008) have argued neoliberal laws, policies and forms of organisation have too often led to damaging impacts on those who are marginalised. The papers draw upon democratic, co-operative and emancipatory practices and in particular, the experience of the UK co-operative schools movement to create alternative futures for communities and schools.
The second symposium will interrogate more closely the issues involved in building policy and organisation from the ground up. This will draw upon a range of approaches - lacanian, Freire-ian, and the radical democratic poststructural approach to discourse of Laclau and others. The history of democratic and emancipatory schools and teaching have variously sought to make changes in social relations through learning and curriculum processes (Fielding and Moss 2011). Dewey, for example, developed a notion of the laboratory school as a way of addressing democratic forms of social organisation. Robert Owen explicitly developed his approaches to co-operative forms of work organisation as a means of developing the ‘good society’.
The linked symposia draw upon research and scholarship from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia and the US. For each symposium the chair and the discussant will draw explicit connections between each paper and each symposium in order to develop a genuinely international perspective that explore and critically examine a) neoliberal initiatives to privatise, marketise, and ‘drive up standards’; and b) the struggles to develop co-operative, democratic and other critical forms of emancipatory education.
Bauman, Z. (2011) collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age, Polity Press
Crouch, C. (2011) The Strange Non-Death of Neo-liberalism, Polity Press
Fielding, M., & Moss, P. (2011). Radical Democratic Education & the Common School. London: Routledge.
Molina, O., and Rhodes, M. (2002) Corporatism: The Past, Present and Future of a Concept, Annual Review Political Science. 5:305–31
Schostak, J. F, and Schostak J. R. (2008) Radical Research. Designing, developing and writing research to make a difference,, Routledge: London, UK
Wolin, S. S. (2008) Democracy incorporated: managed democracy and the spectre of inverted totalitarianism, Princeton University Press
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