, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 491-500
Date: 15 Mar 2012

Review of Michael Fielding and Peter Moss: Radical Education and the Common School

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Today, in education, from top to bottom, pre-school through university, public and private, small and large, teachers find themselves confronted by a seemingly unquestionable new form of top down managerialism, and neoliberal corporate style of decision making. While schools have always been, more or less, venues defined by asymmetric power relations, the current situation appears to be a unique departure from that tradition. The tradition of unequal power in education, which is rooted in the principal subject positions of teacher and student, was always marked by a number of basic features that were either a precursor to or carry-over from practices that defined what would later be called democratic practice. The most important of these features is that of ‘publicity,’ where the relation of power unfolded in between and amongst a gathering where it could be observed, monitored, and judged. Formalized in jurisprudential terms as ‘checks and balances,’ this feature of publicity insured ...