Foucault News

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

Sandberg, F., Fejes, A., Dahlstedt, M., Olson, M.
Adult Education as a Heterotopia of Deviation: A Dwelling for the Abnormal Citizen
(2016) Adult Education Quarterly, 66 (2), pp. 103-119.

DOI: 10.1177/0741713615618447

We argue that municipal adult education (MAE) can be seen as a place for displaced and abnormal citizens to gain temporary stability, enabling their shaping into desirable subjects. Drawing on a poststructural discursive analysis, we analyze policy texts and interviews with teachers and students. Our analysis illustrates how two distinct but interrelated student subjectivities are shaped: the rootless, unmotivated, and irresponsible student; and the responsible, motivated, and goal-oriented student. The difference is that the latter of these subjectivities is positioned as desirable. MAE provides a temporary place in time, a heterotopia of deviation, allowing students to escape precarious employment. The heterotopia places the students in a positive utopian dream of the future. A utopia is not a real place, and what is to become of the students after finishing MAE is not determined; the students themselves should shape it. If they fail, in line with a neoliberal governmentality, it is their own fault. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.

Author Keywords
adult education; citizenship; Foucault; heterotopia of deviation; poststructuralism; power; precarious employment

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