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Title: A discursive analysis of education policy documentation under the Conservative Liberal Government in England
Author: Betzel, Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 3593
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis discusses the relationship between education policy under the UK liberal conservative coalition government and neoliberal discourse. The thesis argues that neoliberal discourse provides a way of organising and legitimising specific rationalities around a political economic agenda in which deregulated markets, free trade and individual property rights are regarded as essential for human well-being, and presents a particular set of ideas as common-sensical and true. Education policy is here understood as the embodiment of a set of claims which initiate particular practices and privilege neoliberal visions. The analytical framework combines a theoretical re-formulation of the discourse-historical approach in critical discourse analysis with theories of argumentation. A variety of argumentative fallacies of neoliberal discourse are presented in order to illustrate the way in which they close off substantive dialogue with alternative views. The thesis relates contemporary education policy to the pursuit of political strategies and to particular forms of recontextualization of social-democratic discourses and emancipatory ideals. The thesis argues that this recontextualisation reveals the way in which education policy is subject to contradictory claims and dynamics of neoliberalism as well as emancipation as part of an entangled progressive discourse, and that neoliberal discourse is utilised in a way which transforms and subsumes democratising claims into a functionalist rhetoric. The thesis further discusses the normative backgrounds underlying argumentation and the way in which the claim to be non-/post-ideological functions in order to obscure the contradictions within contemporary education policy, by universalising and naturalising particular neoliberal ideological and moral perspectives. The thesis may be regarded as a form of discourse politics which problematises the positioning of what is valued to be 'true', 'normal' or 'good' within education policy in late capitalism. In this way it engages with concepts and assumptions presented as givens, and highlights their provisionality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available