23 SES 09 A, New Forms of Governance in School Education (Part 2)
Paper Session continues from 23 SES 08 A
This paper’s concern is with human capital theory that is one of the leading discourses assembled in the current early education advocacy endeavor in Turkey. The paper, first, looks at the ways in which human capital theory finds its significance in policy documents and is appropriated as a driving rationale for the promotion of comprehensive early childhood education programs in Turkey. Second, it examines the discursive grid that gives human capital theory intelligibility and popular appeal. The aim is to examine the effects of human capital theory as a social discourse that interconnects with other historical and contemporary discourses and sets the frames deciding what we think, hope, and do for in particular ways.
This paper draws on Michel Foucault’s (2008) analysis of neoliberalism as a particular mode of governmentality and on the studies providing insights into, and guided by, his approach (such as Lemke, 2002, 2011; McNay, 2009; Bröckling, 2011; Flew, 2012). In Foucault’s work, neoliberalism refers to a shift in the historical trajectory of the modern governmental regime. It is the term used to denote the particular framing of the problem-solution analysis through which the life of an individual and of a population was understood and problematized. This neoliberal mode of governmental regime, which has become dominant and dominating across the world from the late 20th century to the present day, is described as “an economization of the social” by Bührmann (2005) meaning that economy has mutated and embraced the entirety of social relations and individual behaviors, including those which were previously accepted to be the most intimate and thought to be outside of the boundaries of the market, such as marriage and mothering. What enables the social sphere to be reconfigured as a form of the economic domain is human capital theory. Human capital theory assumes that human beings are a bundle of resources- including all of the knowledge, skills, intelligence, and training possessed by individuals or collectively as a population. Like any other form of capital, human capital needs investment in order to be managed and maximized. Embedded in human capital theory that delineates and translates almost all the domains of human life into economic terms is the notion of the atomized and entrepreneurial individual who has the capability to make rational investment decisions to maximize benefits. The human being as “an entrepreneur of himself, being for himself his own capital, being for himself his own producer, being for himself the source of earnings” (Foucault, 2008, p. 226) is at the center of governmentality. Such a conceptualization asks for individuals to see themselves as an enterprise and base all their decisions on cost-benefit analyses. They are expected to constantly evaluate, judge, and order themselves and their lives within an economized matrix with an expectation of future return. The aim of this paper is to examine the way in which early education is conflated with human capital theory in the context of Turkey. My attention is directed toward the configuration of early education as a productive discursive site for the production of entrepreneurial subjects (as individual and collective), institutions, and states.
Bröckling, U. (2011). Human economy, human capital: A critique of biopolitical economy. In U. Bröckling, S. Krasmann & T. Lemke (eds.), Governmentality: Current issues and future challenges (pp. 247-268). NY: Routledge. Bührmann, A. D. (2005). The Emerging of the entrepreneurial self and its current hegemony. Some basic reflections on how to analyze the formation and transformation of modern forms of subjectivity. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6, 1, Art. 16, http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/518/1122 Flew, T. (2012). Michel Foucault ’s the birth of biopolitics and contemporary neo-liberalism debates. Thesis Eleven, 108, 1, 44–65. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/Knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings by Michel Foucault. C. Gordon, (Ed. & Trans.). NY: Pantheon. Foucault, M. (2008). The birth of biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France. Michel Senellart (Ed.). NY: Palgrave Mcmillan. Lemke, T. (2002). Foucault, governmentality, and critique. Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society, 14, 3, 49-64. Lemke, T. (2011). Biopolitics: An advanced introduction. NY: New York University Press. McNay, L. (2009). Self as enterprise: Dilemmas of control and resistance in Foucault’s the birth of biopolitics. Theory, Culture, & Society, 26, 6, 55-77.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.