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Governmentality in educational development: education, development and the role of ICT

Chung, Hyunsook (2015) Governmentality in educational development: education, development and the role of ICT. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Contemporary discourse in the related fields of education and development are increasingly dominated by notions of the knowledge economy, global competition, market compatibility, privatisation, performativity and entrepreunership. These dominant notions or imaginaries, proliferating through discourse across the world, impact on how we think about education and development and how thoughts are materialised in our everyday actions. Drawing on a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis, this thesis problematises these inconspicuous, taken-for-granted notions, to make them visible and tangible, and to interrogate their role as mechanisms of discourse formation. It traces how such notions are manifested through the rhetorics, structures and trajectories of some instances of ‘education for development’. It works towards a better understanding of how the apparent post-WW2 neoliberal consensus has framed, transmitted and ratified these globalised and globalising discourses, and changed the dynamics of our social construction as citizens of a [post]modern globalised world, through the constitutive power of governmentality. Recent developments in ICT and digital education technologies have contributed to transfers or mobility of global education policies and a widening technologisation of educational systems. The thesis argues that these changes have been fuelled by transnational development programmes, such as Official Development Assistance funding, public-private partnership funding, and large scale philanthropy - under the rubric of bridging the digital divide. It further argues that these changes at the level of discourse are formed and sustained through relations of knowledge and power, which serve to legitimate the discourse and, in a kind of strategic game, make its dominant imaginaries appear more real. International policy makers, researchers and consultants are positioned at the centre of production and reproduction of the dominant discourse/s, and the consequent formation of policy and governance. The empirical data for this study comprises interviews with 51 such global knowledge workers, together with the texts of some key national and transnational policy documents. The study shows how these actors have themselves been constructed as subjects in the process of educational globalisation, and how the logic of the knowledge economy has been objectified and naturalised through this technology of the self.

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