Ethnography of a Neoliberal School: Building Cultures of Success, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethnography of a Neoliberal School

Building Cultures of Success, 1st Edition

By Garth Stahl


180 pages

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Paperback: 9780367878610
pub: 2020-03-31
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As a school ethnography, this book explores the controversial schooling practices and strategies embedded in charter school management organizations (CMOs), as well as how these practices influence teaching and learning, school leadership, teachers’ professional identities, and students’ understanding of success. By theorizing the common practices within the organization, Stahl connects current research in neoliberal governance, neoliberal structuring of educational policy, aspiration and social reproduction in schooling. Honing in on the discourse on education reform, Stahl demonstrates that a "unique blend" of neoliberalism and social justice values have permeated the CMO’s institutional culture, promoting the belief that adopting corporate practices will fix America’s schools and ensure equity of opportunity for all. The inclusion of institutional texts (emails, Blackberry messages, posters, and rubrics) balances the personal-subjective and inter-subjective to capture a blend of neoliberalism and social justice reframing.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Chapter 1: Introduction

Part I

Chapter 2: School ethnography, school effects and schooling in neoliberal times

Chapter 3: Charter schools, the reform movement and CMOs

Chapter 4: Corporatization, CMOs and the "unique blend"

Part II

Chapter 5: Leadership

Chapter 6: Teachers

Chapter 7: Students

Chapter 8: Assessment

Chapter 9: Reflections

Appendix A – Qualities of Exemplary Teaching (QET) Deliverables Rubric

About the Author

Garth Stahl, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education at the University of South Australia and Research Fellow, Australian Research Council (DECRA). His research interests lie on the nexus of neoliberalism and socio-cultural studies of education, identity, equity/inequality, and social change. Currently, his research projects and publications encompass theoretical and empirical studies of learner identities, gender and youth, sociology of schooling in a neoliberal age, gendered subjectivities, equity and difference, and educational reform.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Administration / General
EDUCATION / Leadership
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General