Insights beyond neo-liberal educational practices: The value of discourse analysis

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This article discusses the nature, power and effects of neo-liberal rationale in educational settings. By introducing discourse analysis of two cases, the influence of neoliberal ideology on contemporary curricula and school programs were examined. The analysis showed that dominant discourses based on neo-liberal rationale presented themselves as 'unquestionable truths' that influenced how educators interacted with others and went about their profession. The dominant discourses relied upon assertions by consensus or common conception and understanding to create an 'officially' sanctioned way of thinking about education. Proponents of a particular dominant discourse argued that such sanctions were a necessary feature of an initiative or innovation, and provided a focus for energy and activism, winning teachers' support, and conveying to the wider community a sense of purpose, action and rational planning; a clear path to salvation. On the other hand, these dominant discourses had a necessary effect in obscuring other perspectives and disallowing critique from taking place. This article argues that discourse analysis provides a platform to interrogate the dominant discourses to reveal alternative or previously unseen perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Research for Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Early online date28 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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