Aspiration, Abjection and Precariousness: The Neoliberal Educator’s desire for compliance.

Best, Shaun (2017) Aspiration, Abjection and Precariousness: The Neoliberal Educator’s desire for compliance. Power and Education, 9 (1). pp. 37-50. ISSN 1757-7438

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Aspiration has come to play a central role in the British Government's approach to educational underachievement. This paper revisits research conducted in the 1970s by Paul Corrigan (1979) and Paul Willis (1977) to examine the impact of neo-liberalism on the school life of young teenagers. The behaviours of working class children as described by Corrigan and Willis have become increasingly regarded as problematical by policy makers and school leaders. This paper discusses the impact of the measures to enhance 'student aspiration' by using quality assurance measures such as benchmarking. The paper explores how teenagers now live much more abject and precarious lives than the teenagers that Willis and Corrigan investigated. The conclusion reached is that in an education context abjection is imposed on those people who do not fit into the regulatory ideal of achievement via aspiration. The mechanisms that help to bring about this precarious life are identified with reference to Foucault, Kristeva, Agamben and Butler. Educational research into leadership, school improvement and school effectiveness is said to have been complicit in the facilitation of neo-liberal practice into school life and effective schools are schools that are effective in achieving neo-liberal objectives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: DOI: 10.1177/1757743817692829
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agamben, aspiration, neo-liberal, precarious life, school effectiveness, school improvement
Subjects: L Social studies > L300 Sociology
X Education > X300 Academic studies in education
Departments: Faculty of Education, Health and Social Care > Education Studies
Depositing User: Shaun Best
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 09:40
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 11:14

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