Foucault News

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

Emiliano Grimaldi & Stephen J. Ball (2020) Paradoxes of freedom. An archaeological analysis of educational online platform interfaces, Critical Studies in Education
DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2020.1861043

Many schools and students across the globe are now engaging with educational digital platforms in their teaching and learning experience. Platforms are changing what education is and how it is experienced. In response, educational research has devoted increasing attention to the so-called platformisation of education. This article contributes to this focus of attention, proposing a conceptual framework for the analysis of the configuration of platforms and the kinds of learning experience and learners they create the conditions of possibility for. Using Foucauldian archaeological methods, we present an analytics that focuses on three interrelated axes, the spatial, temporal and ethical configurations of educational platforms. We identify some theoretical tools for the analysis of the educational experience that platforms make possible, thinkable and desirable. We show how digital platforms produce a paradoxical kind of digital learner, whose autonomy and freedom to choose, connect, produce, accumulate, perform and enact is configured within an epistemological space demarcated by the tensions between modularisation and hypertextuality, linearity and co-existence, performance and character/potential. Reflecting on this, we consider the working of a careful, unrelenting, and empirically vigilant digital gaze, which secures a very specific educational experience.

Educational online platforms digital learner digital gaze neoliberalism archaeology

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