23 SES 02 D, Policy Reforms and Teacher Professionalism (Part 1)
Paper Session: to be continued in 23 SES 03 D, 23 SES 04 D
In spring 2013 teachers carrying billboards with slogans like 'We want to teach!' or 'We love our job!' was a common sight all over Denmark. The slogans were part of the teachers' protest strategy when they were collectively locked out from their work as a culmination of a month long conflict between the teachers' union (DLF) and the association of municipalities (KL) representing the employers. After approximately three weeks of lock out, the Danish government took the unforeseen step of ending the conflict by introducing a law on the regulation of time and work, based on principles very similar to the initial claim of the KL as the employers.
This paper presents an analysis of the lock out, and its ongoing aftermath in the present phase of implementing a new working time agreement (WTA) as well as a major school reform in Denmark. One central question is how come the teachers responded to the collective redundancy notice with a declaration of love for their work? And how is love for work related to the ongoing processes of implementing educational policy in the form of a major school reform and a new WTA?
We argue that in order to understand the teachers' reactions to the conflict and to new political attempts of managing work and time, we should address the ideological underpinnings - of the reactions as well as the policy put in place.
We turn to concepts of ideology and fantasy based on the work of Jason Glynos and David Howarth (2007) as well as Slavoj Zizek (E.g.1989). The Lacanian inspiration found there, allows us discuss how ideological fantasies of the Other play part in the redistribution of time and work as well as in the production of enjoyment, desire and transgression. Glynos and Howarth, coming out of the Essex School, suggest analyzing regimes of practices, including their transformation, stabilization or maintenance, by using 'logics' (2007,15). This implies not simply characterizing a social practice or a regime of practices, but also deciphering the rules and ontological presuppositions that render a certain social practice possible and intelligible. They point to 'fantasmatic logics' as a certain form of ideological force that legitimizes and encourages political action in struggles about transforming, stabilizing or maintaining social practices:
Fantasy operates so as to conceal or close off the radical contingency of socialrelations. It does this through a fantasmatic narrative or logic that promises a fullness-to- come once a named or implied obstacle is overcome – the beatific dimension of fantasy – or which foretells of disaster if the obstacle proves insurmountable, whichmight be termed the horrific dimension of fantasy. (Ibid., 147)
In this way, they see fantasy as doing its ideological work by delivering complexity-reducing representations of the world, representations that can take the form of narratives legitimizing certain actions rather than others and pointing out drivers and barriers (or heroes and scapegoats) to be dealt with in attempts to reach the imagined fullness-to-come (Vaaben, 2013, pp. 139, 150).
Zizek also draw on this Lacanian understanding of fantasy, and he points to the function of fantasy as concealing, not alone contingency, but also the inherent antagonism of the social (Zizek, 1989, p. 21). The important analytical addition, though, is how enjoyment also must be taken into consideration as the 'very surplus which is the last support of ideology' (Ibid., 124).With this theoretical set up we aim at supplementing a discursiv enjoyment within the narratives presented to us (Bjerg, 2011).
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