Foucault News

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

Sonu, D., Benson, J.
The quasi-human child: How normative conceptions of childhood enabled neoliberal school reform in the United States
(2016) Curriculum Inquiry, 46 (3), pp. 230-247.

DOI: 10.1080/03626784.2016.1168259

Abstract
This paper argues that normative conceptions of the child, as a natural quasi-human being in need of guidance, enable current school reforms in the United States to directly link the child to neoliberal aims and objectives. In using Foucault’s concept of governmentality and disciplinary power, we first present how the child is constructed as a subject of the adult world, then trace how such understandings invite school policies and practices that worked on the child, rather than with the child. In order to understand how the child comes to be known and recognized as a learner, both at the intersections of normative conceptions of childhood and material expectations of the student, we use Biesta’s three domains of education: socialization, qualification, and subjectification as an organizing framework and draw primarily from Common Core Learning Standards and related policy reports with the aim of reorienting educational work away from economic and political universals and toward a subjective response to the child as a human being with concerns, rights, and as a subject worthy of recognition. © 2016 the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Author Keywords
common core; Foucault; neoliberalism; subjectification; The child

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