Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Anderson, A. The critical purchase of genealogy: Critiquing student participation projects (2013) Discourse. Article in Press.

Further info

Abstract
Until recently the dominant critique of ‘student participation’ projects was one based on the theoretical assumptions of critical theory in the form of critical pedagogy. Over the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of a critical education discourse that theorises and critically analyses such projects using Foucault’s notion of ‘governmentality’. In this paper, I argue that while these governmentality studies challenge some of the key theoretical and taken for granted assumptions upon which such initiatives rest, they neglect to challenge the central assumption that such initiatives represent a historical break with traditional schooling practices. The importance of accounting for and critically analysing these projects within a historical framework will be argued through a discussion of Foucault’s notion of genealogy as a particular conception and method of critique. It will also be demonstrated using an example, which shows an unacknowledged nineteenth century history of the current discourse and practice of student participation.

Author Keywords
genealogy; governmentality; student participation; student voice

DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2013.828417

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