‘Finding Foucault’: Contextualising Power in the Curriculum Through Reflections on Students’ Dialoguing About Foucauldian Discourses
The findings of this study are presented in a Readers’ Theatre (Donmoyer & Yennie-Donmoyer 1995) format to illustrate the learning of graduate students in a Curriculum and Instruction summer school seminar at a large university in the Southwest USA. Presented in three acts, and in a drama script format, I wanted to capture the students’ questions, problems, ruminations and assertions about theories of Michel Foucault as they relate to the field of education (Foucault, 1965, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1985). The intent in offering this course was to introduce students to some lesser applied and sometimes more meaningful research tools and insights than are taught in research core rotation courses (e.g. qualitative, ethnographic, statistical research approaches). I was particularly interested in their identifying how power is exercised in many locations: by policymakers, educational researchers, curriculum producers and supervisors; by teachers as they connect learning and students’ lives; and by students as they attempt to make sense of knowledge and power in their own lives and for their own purposes. For those students who worked at a distance, reading the Archaeology of Knowledge (1972) presented an arduous challenge; however, working online did not deter reading and rereading Foucault’s major works and interrogation of his research methods. The students who attended face-to-face class meetings encountered the same challenges with Foucault’s dense and sometimes difficult text. Nevertheless, both the online and face-to-face students applied his assertions in meaningful ways to grapple with comprehending the exercise of power through the curriculum.
KeywordsTenured Faculty Pantheon Book Summer Session Graduate Seminar Teacher Attrition
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Agnello, M.F. (2001) A Postmodern Literacy Policy Analysis (New York: Peter Lang).Google Scholar
- Chomsky, N. (2011) Human Nature: Justice versus Power: The Chomsky-Foucault Debate (ed. F. Elders) (London: Souvenir Press).Google Scholar
- Chomsky, N. & Foucault, M. (1974) ‘Human nature: Justice versus power,’ in F. Elders (ed.) Reflexive Water: The Basic Concerns of Mankind (London: Souvenir Press), pp. 133–97.Google Scholar
- CSCOPE (2011, 2013) Texas Education Service Centre Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), in R. Klein (2013) ‘Texas ends CSCOPE curriculum system after concerns that it had an anti-American agenda,’ Huffington Post 21 May 2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/texas-ends-cscope_n_3308963.html [Retrieved: 31 March 2015].
- Dewey, J. (1916/2008) Democracy and Education. Radford, AV: Wilder Publications.Google Scholar
- Eisenhower, D.D. (1995). Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (Project Gutenberg).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1965) Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1978) The History of Sexuality (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1978) The History of Sexuality (Vol. 1) The Use of Pleasure (New York: Random House).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings C. Gordon (ed.) (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1984). The Foucault Reader (P. Rabinow, Ed.). (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1985) The History of Sexuality (Vol. 2) An Introduction (New York: Pantheon Books).Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books).Google Scholar
- Freire, P. (1970) Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Seabury Press).Google Scholar
- Giroux, H. (2007) Beyond the Limits of Neoliberal Higher Education: Global Youth Resistance and the American/British Divide http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/4646:beyond-the-limits-of-neoliberal-higher-education-global-youth-resistance-and-the-americanbritish-divide [Retrieved: 30 March 2015].Google Scholar
- Gordon, C. Governmental rationality: An introduction. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon, & P. Miller (Eds.) The Foucault effect: Studies in governmentality (pp. 1–51) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
- Gore, J. (1993) The Struggle for Pedagogies: Critical and Feminist Discourses as Regimes of Truth (New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
- Lotan, G., Graeff, E., Ananny, M., Gaffney, D. & Pearce, I. (2011) ‘The Arab Spring the revolutions were tweeted: Information flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.’ International Journal of Communication 5 (2011): 31.Google Scholar
- Luke, A. (1995) ‘When basic skills and information processing just aren’t enough: Rethinking reading in new times,’ Teachers College Record 97: 95–115.Google Scholar
- McNeil, L.M. (2000) Contradictions of School Reform: Educational Costs of Standardized Testing (New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
- O’Farrell, C. (2005) Michel Foucault (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications).Google Scholar
- NCES (October 2012) Programme for International Student Assessment National Center for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/ [Retrieved: 30 March 2015].
- Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action (New York: Basic Books).Google Scholar
- Shutkin, D. (1994) The Deployment of Information Technology and the Child as Subject: A Discourse Analysis of School Restructuring Initiatives, Psychological Research, and Educational Policy, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison.Google Scholar