For much of its history, the notion of talent has been associated with the idea of ‘careers open to talent’. Its emancipatory promise of upward social mobility has ultimately radically transformed the distribution of advantaged social positions and has had a lasting influence on the very idea of social status itself. Besides its inextricable link with equality of educational opportunity, the notion of talent also came to be associated with some of the most pressing contemporary issues as diverse as the ‘war for talent’, brain drain, immigration policies, talent management, global meritocracy, the ‘excellence gap’, the ‘ownership’ of natural resources, ability taxation, etc.
Nevertheless, while central to egalitarian conceptions of distributive justice, the notion of talent remains to a large extent absent from the voluminous literature on these issues. Unlike concepts traditionally associated with distributive justice, such as fairness, (in)equality, equality of opportunity as well as justice itself, the notion of talent has received only limited examination. This volume brings together a set of contributions discussing some of the most pressing problems and challenges arising out of a reductionist understanding of talents’ anatomy, a distorted characterisation of their overall distributive value or talents’ non-voluntaristic nature and many other issues revolving around talents, which existing conceptions of distributive justice in education leave either neglected or outrightly ignored.
The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal, Educational Philosophy and Theory.
Table of Contents
2. Talents and distributive justice: some tensions
Mitja Sardoč and Tomaž Deželan
3. Two conceptions of talent
4. Against selection: Educational justice and the ascription of talent
5. Talents, abilities and educational justice
6. Earning rent with your talent: Modern-day inequality rests on the power to define, transfer and institutionalize talent
Jonathan J. B. Mijs
7. The belief in innate talent and its implications for distributive justice
Mark C. Vopat
8. A limited defense of talent as a criterion for access to educational opportunities
Winston C. Thompson
9. China’s making and governing of educational subjects as ‘talent’: A dialogue with Michel Foucault
10. Talents and distributive justice: An interview with Hillel Steiner
Mitja Sardoc is Senior Research Associate at the Educational Research Institute in Ljubljana (Slovenia). He is author of scholarly articles and editor of a number of journal special issues on citizenship education, multiculturalism, toleration, equality of opportunity, patriotism, radicalisation and violent extremism. He is Managing Editor of Theory and Research in Education, Editor-in-Chief of the Handbook of Patriotism and The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration.