The introduction to the Special issue: Impacts of neoliberal policy on the lived experiences of primary school communities, has been published online first by Power and Education. I co-edited the SI with my compadre Mark Pulsford. The SI as a whole has contributions that ground neoliberal policies and logics in the everyday routines and practices within Primary school communities.
The papers to be included are as follows and in this order.
Editorial: Neoliberalism and Primary Education: Impacts of neoliberal policy on the lived experiences of primary school communities (authors: Richard Hall and Mark Pulsford – published online first)
How neoliberal policy inhibits partnership-building in the primary phase: A new social movements approach (Michael Jopling – published online first)
Local authority instrumental music tuition as a form of neo-liberal parental investment: findings from a deviant, idiographic case study (Ross Purves – published online first)
Power, influence, and policy in Arizona’s education market: “We’ve got to out-charter the charters (Amanda U Potterton – published online first)
Making little neoliberals: the production of ideal child/learner subjectivities in primary school through choice, self-improvement and ‘growth mindsets (Alice Bradbury)
A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Let Our Kids be Kids Protest (Angela Sibley-White – published online first)
Go into school, get a cushy job, move to a better area: male primary school teachers, neoliberalism and hierarchies of person-value (Mark Pulsford – published online first)
In the introduction, Mark and I ‘ask what it means to have a stake in a contemporary primary school community – and to what extent all stakes are valued’ (p. 4). We frame ‘two organising concepts for thinking about neoliberal policy and the lived experiences of primary school communities: ecosystem and subjectivity’ (p. 4), and go on to highlight the contradictions and ‘the extreme tension that exists inside schools and across school sectors in the global North, between policy demands for particular types of function or ways of functioning, and emergent dysfunction at the level of the individual, the family, the group or sub-population or the school’ (p. 9). Finally, in attempting to connect policy terrains to lived experiences at a range of scales and in a range of contexts, in order to point towards moments of resistance, we argue (p. 10):
In this special issue, each of the six papers describe and analyse new departure points for resistance. They highlight the messiness of policy that imposes particular forms of governance and regulation that prescribed particular, market-focused and commodified types of activity. This messiness spills over into the idea of community, communities, sub-groups or sub-populations, and whether they are able to generate agency and self-actualisation. However, joining the links between these departure points is fundamental if resistance is to be generated and maintained. Joining links between these departure points beyond primary education in the global North is crucial in demonstrating differential injustice in the global South, and in linking to injustices in other sectors of the economy. Only in this way can a meaningful engagement with lived experiences promote a scalable engagement with change.