1st Edition

Educating the Neoliberal Whole Child A Genealogical Approach

By Bronwen MA Jones Copyright 2022
    196 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    196 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book questions what ‘educating the whole child’ means in the context of our current neoliberal education system. In analysing the impact of how education policy is enacted and understood, it examines how this ‘neoliberalisation’ has shaped the personal and ethical relations of education.

    The book is unique in raising questions about the way in which a common and universally held truth about the importance and value of educating the whole child is conceptualised and articulated in education policy. Employing Foucault’s concepts of bio power, governmentality, the dispositif and subjectivities, this book explores the importance of psy-scientific knowledge, systems of education governance and classroom practices in constructing a neoliberal whole child. It examines how government policy structures the relationship between the child, school and government and claims that current policy and practice operate as forms of bio power that extends neoliberal governance to the emotional and moral life of the child.

    Educating the Neoliberal Whole Child will be of great interest to researchers, academics and students in the fields of education policy, sociology of education and critical pedagogy. It is also a valuable addition to studies of Foucault and education.

    1. Introduction

    2. Problematising the whole child

    3. Psy-scientific discourses and policies of well-being and character: The extension of bio power

    4. The discourses and architecture of neoliberal education policy: An expanding neoliberal dispositif and governmentality

    5. Classroom practice: Neoliberal technologies of the self

    6. The neoliberal whole child: A cuckoo in the nest





    Bronwen MA Jones completed her PhD at the Institute of Education, UCL in 2020.

    "This book offers a stunning critique of recent education policy related to character education set within a more general analytic history of the education of the whole child in various iterations. Jones’ book offers an exemplary analysis of recent education policy in England using the genealogical method of Michel Foucault. The policy analysis itself is critically insightful and provides a forensic account of the background to, advocacy and practices of character education. What is clear from this is the classroom has become a site for the production of a neoliberal child. This work is important and it is chilling!’

    Stephen J Ball, Emeritus Professor of Sociology of Education, University College London, UK.


    "In this well-researched and novel study, Bronwen Jones establishes the viability of a Foucauldian genealogical research strategy to successfully demonstrate how education policies from New Labour onwards have sought to reinterpret and reinscribe the education of the ‘whole child’ in distinctively neoliberal terms. Overall, the study represents a genuinely original application of Foucault’s powerful research concepts rich in both textual analysis and the detail of its illustrations. It is a ‘must-read’ for all those interested in the sociology of education as well as in the thought and research applications of Michel Foucault."

    Mark Olssen, Emeritus Professor, Department of Politics, University of Surrey, UK.

    "This book provides an outstanding example of a Foucauldian genealogy and an illuminating analysis of how the notion of the whole child gets constructed and transformed through English education policy. It is theoretically rich and an inspiring read to anyone interested in critical policy studies."

    Rille Raaper, Associate Professor in the School of Education, Durham University, UK.