Foucault News

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

Peter C. O’Brien, Performance Government: Activating and regulating the self-governing capacities of teachers and school leaders, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Published online: 04 Jul 2014

DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2014.930682

This article analyses ‘performance government’ as an emergent form of rule in advanced liberal democracies. It discloses how teachers and school leaders in Australia are being governed by the practices of performance government which centre on the recently established Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and are given direction by two major strategies implicit within the exercise of this form of power: activation and regulation. Through an ‘analytics of government’ of these practices, the article unravels the new configurations of corporatized expert and academic knowledge—and their attendant methods of application—by which the self-governing capacities of teachers and school leaders are being activated and regulated in ways that seek to optimize the performance of these professionals. The article concludes by outlining some of the dangers of performance government for the professional freedom of educators and school leaders.


performance government,
professional standards,
professional learning

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