Nadarajan, D. (2022), “The Zombification Crisis in a Crisis: Neoliberal Battles and Teacher Survivors in the Pandemic”, Wiseman, A.W. (Ed.) Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2021 (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 42A), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 149-157.
In this piece, the author invokes Beck’s (1997) conception of “zombie categories” to discuss how the virus of neoliberalism has infected ideas and key actors within a highly stratified teaching community in Malaysia. Drawing from the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the author employs a zombie metaphor as a heuristic to trace the stages of a neoliberal apocalypse. The author first considers how neoliberal ideologies have mutated into a new strain of virus that have infiltrated the teaching landscape by comparing teachers employed by the Ministry of Education against teachers who have been recruited by Teach For Malaysia in the public schooling system. The author then explores how sources of zombification have contaminated actors using governmentality (Foucault, 1991) through intensification, corporatization, marketization, metricization, and performativity. This is followed by an attempt to construct a survival response to the apocalypse by suggesting how specific neoliberal competencies are coveted and the implications behind it. Finally, the author outlines how the forces of neoliberalism engender a crisis in education that mirrors a zombie culture of breeding a contagion that could widen existing educational inequalities and inequities. The author concludes by offering a tentative containment plan that considers existing alongside this neoliberal virus that refuses to die. © 2022 by Emerald Publishing Limited.
governmentality; Malaysia; Neoliberalism; pandemic; teaching; zombie