Education and Political Subjectivities in Neoliberal Times and Places: Emergences of norms and possibilities, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Education and Political Subjectivities in Neoliberal Times and Places

Emergences of norms and possibilities, 1st Edition

Edited by Eva Reimers, Lena Martinsson


160 pages

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Education and Political Subjectivities in Neoliberal Times and Places investigates the conditions and possibilities for political subjectivities to emerge in international educational contexts, where neoliberal norms are repeated, performed and transformed. Through demonstrating the possibility of political subjectivities, this book argues that neoliberalism should neither be considered post-political, nor a natural law by which educational practices have to abide.

This book considers how political subjectivities are made possible in education in spite of dominant neoliberal norms. Chapters address key theoretical discussions surrounding these different, sometimes contradicting, norms and their relationship to education, economy and politics. This innovative approach considers diverse educational and political initiatives in the wake of new public management, postcolonial perspectives on neoliberal education, and educational practices and critical possibilities. The book advocates understanding and enacting democracy as an experiment, based on the conception that democracy is constantly constructed and constitutes a transformative process in society in general as well as in education.

This book advances the argument that there is still room for political subjectivity in spite of the dominance of neoliberal educational governance. It will appeal to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of higher education, education policy and politics, sociology of education and comparative and international education, as well as those interested in neoliberalism, new public management, and inequality.


‘A much needed rethinking of the variability of neoliberal education projects and neoliberal subjectivities in different national contexts.’

Steven Ward, Professor of Sociology, Western Connecticut State University, USA

‘Considering how neoliberalism works and what it does to education in specific national and local settings has been a key concern of critical sociology of education for some time. This collection of essays by Reimers, Martinson and colleagues extends this work by engaging in the crucial task of detailing the political subjects that are called up and curtailed in these conditions. Understanding the possibilities for responding to neoliberal tendencies in education remains a pressing task for scholars, activists and educators and so this collection provides important resources for thinking about and doing politics in and against neoliberal education.’

Deborah Youdell, Professor of Sociology of Education, University of Birmingham, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Making trouble with neoliberalism, education and political subjectivity Lena Martinsson and Eva Reimers

2. Politics, subjectivity and education in neoliberal times: An interview with Gert Biesta Gert Biesta, Lena Martinsson, Eva Reimers

3. Messy norms and desire for education Lena Martinsson

4. Competition, accountability and performativity: Exploring schizoid neo-liberal ‘equality objectives’ in a UK primary school Jos Harvey and Jessica Ringrose

5. Towards de-cold-war politics: Nationalism, democracy and new politics of/for education in Japan Keita Takayama

6. Post-political governing of welfare state education in Sweden Rita Foss Lindblad and Sverker Lindblad

7. Why education? Economic and political subjectivities in public discourses on education Eva Reimers

8. Political subjectivity, political struggle and political education in times of precarization Eva Reimers and Lena Martinsson

9. Political subjectivity and the experiment of democracy – A conclusion Lena Martinsson and Eva Reimers

About the Editors

Eva Reimers is Professor of Educational Practice at Linköping University, Sweden.

Lena Martinsson is Professor of Gender Studies in the Department for Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education Policy and Politics

The Routledge Research in Education Policy and Politics series aims to enhance our understanding of key challenges and facilitate on-going academic debate within the influential and growing field of Education Policy and Politics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects