The Professional Imagination: Remaking Education Policy in a Neoliberal Context

  • Denis Gleeson
Part of the Marxism and Education book series (MAED)


This chapter, located in a mainly English context, addresses the recent resurgence of interest in the remaking of public policy through a “new professionalism” (Cabinet Office 2008). As a case in point, this contribution explores the shifting nature of public professionalism in Further Education, a sector that has arguably been exposed to more market experimentation than any other in the public sphere.1 It draws parallels with wider areas of public policy analysis that chronicle the effects of centralised deregulation on professionals as the subjects of reform. The research that informs the main argument addresses two interconnected processes of regime change (policy and periodisation) and technologies of control (audit, inspection, and peformativity) that impact on the identities and cultural practices of professionals (agency and mediation) in the contexts of their work (Strathern 2000). In exploring the paradox of generating policy through professionalism (Cabinet Office 2009), this chapter analyses how invisible pedagogies of professional practice and power both challenge and reproduce classic elements of purity and danger (Douglas 1966; Bernstein 1996; Bourdieu 1998). The approach taken challenges modernising agendas that seek to reprofessionalise or empower professionals without examining the changing conditions of their work or the neoliberal policies that frame their practice.


Professional Identity Market Reform Professional Imagination Expansive Learning Civic Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Anthony Green 2010

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  • Denis Gleeson

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