Based in a holistic exposition and appraisal of Gramsci’s writings that are of relevance to education in neoliberal times, this book--rather than simply applying Gramsci's theories to issues in education--argues that education constitutes the leitmotif of his entire oeuvre and lies at the heart of his conceptualization of the ancient Greek term hegemony that was used by other political theorists before him. Starting from this understanding, the book goes on to compare Gramsci's theories with those of later thinkers in the development of a critical pedagogy that can confront neoliberalism in all its forms.
"Peter Mayo has written a book that will appeal to both experts on Gramsci and those newly interested in his work and education. Gramscian scholar Joseph Buttigieg (2015), writes in his preface that Mayo’s book provides a “rich elaboration of … [Gramsci’s] early views on education as the acquisition of critical awareness and as the sine qua non in any effective political struggle for equality within a democratic society” (p.xii). For those new to Gramsci, the book offers pointed discussions on Gramsci’s life, thought, and legacy regarding education. To those familiar with Gramsci’s work, the book offers a well-written account his work on education and schooling and applies a Gramscian approach to contemporary issues. Thus, the book offers a basis for those wanting to engage with Gramsci’s concepts and methods as tools to make sense of the impact of neoliberalism on education and the world."
Sheila Macrine, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Georgraphy
Chapter 1: Introduction
Neoliberalism is degrading and destroying public education systems globally. The local characteristics may vary, the results are common - increased inequalities in schooling, vocational and higher education, inferior work conditions for teachers and faculty, and detheorized and technicized delivery systems of increasing conservative curricula at all levels of education. Neoliberalism - marketization, privatization, pre-privatization, commodification - is increasingly accompanied by forms of authoritarian conservatism - secular in some countries, religious in others - with increased control, surveillance, and forced abandonment of critique. Such neoliberal and conservative assaults on public education and on broader aims than those which are couched purely in terms of economic/human capital - meet with increased resistance by students, teachers, communities, social movements, and in some countries, political parties.
The Routledge Studies in Education, Neoliberalism, and Marxism series features books by new as well as established scholars that throw a harsh spotlight on the conditions under which education currently labors and offers analysis, hope, and resistance in the name of more collective, egalitarian education for social and for economic justice.