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Title: What dreams may come?: The supplanting of the ideology of equality of opportunity in Australian education
Contributor(s): Poynting, S (author); McQueen, K (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: 'Global capitalism has a way of reshaping, reinflecting, and rearticulating ... discourses of dissent such that they fit securely within the manageable compass of business interests and are underwritten by safe abstract civic ideals'. As a discourse of dissent from 'assimilationist' education, the 'civic ideal' of equality of opportunity in education reached its high point in the mid 1980s. By the mid-1990s, a hegemonic ideology of individual educational benefit ('user pays'), 'diversity' and 'choice' (the localisation and fragmentation of provision), and 'excellence' (the promotion of elitism) had overwhelmed notions of equality and access in education. As calls for equality of opportunity in education became muted, especially when the 'failure' ofworking-class comprehensive public schools and their under-funding were made explicit by governments and in the media, participants came to suspect that they could only succeed at others' expense. Inequality, far from being a social blight, came to be seen as a virtue. One 'safe abstract civic ideal' was replaced with another, perhaps 'civic' but less civil: the freedom of the market. The restructuring of the Australian economy in the boom/bust cycles after 1974, with its toxic social and labour market fallout, meant that, as a dominant ideology, educational equality of opportunity had to be cast aside in favour of an ideology reflecting the reality of the times: market efficiency, individualisation of reward and success at any price.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Yesterday's Dreams: International and Critical Perspectives on Education and Social Class, p. 11-39
Publisher: Canterbury University Press
Place of Publication: Christchurch
ISBN: 1877257230
Field of Research (FOR): 160809 Sociology of Education
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Education

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