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Narrative Theory

Life Politics: conversations about education and culture

Mediation is the Message

QUESTION: I guess that the use of an idea like “refraction” can be appreciated only if you ground it in a certain context.

IVOR: It’s about the difference between curriculum as I understand it in Spanish speaking countries and in England. The reason for the celebration of curriculum in Anglo American world I think is that it’s most powerfully a celebration of the substantial professional authority. Teachers in the 60’s and 70’s in England and America had a very substantial power of refraction, if you will, of mediation. Because they could control large aspects of the curriculum. So, to go back to the macro, mezzo and micro thing on the role of the intellectual, the intellectual was excited by that because here was an example of substantial movement into the areas of policy and structural renegotiations. The teachers were involved and so the theories were celebrated in a sense (of agency). Now that’s different from Spanish speaking notions of curriculum, that’s a much more specific definition as a course of study.

QUESTION: Now speaking about curriculum theory is the celebration of, probably, the state.

IVOR: That’s entirely true, and that’s a crucial point of that. But you see, we talked about coming back and you’ll go out to the circle and you’ll come back to the same point. The Anglo American world has now returned to the same point as the Spanish world again, which is that now the curriculum is simply a course of study. But, to talk about curriculum is nearly to think about power. And to theorize over curriculum is to theorize on the refraction of power. So we move into a situation of convergence between the Spanish speaking and the English speaking world. It’s interesting to think, to see the convergence, the global convergence in Spanish speaking and English speaking understandings of curriculum. For a little while Anglo American escapes for a wider space which made this a very interesting curriculum theory. Now curriculum returns to one small part of the area. What we’ve got to try and find is an understanding of the world matrix of schooling. Have the bits put together of the patterns of distribution. So we need a theory of school distribution. We need a new distributional theory, a new theory of regulation. Because the game has changed we need to understand the new patterns of regulation and mediation. Putting in place the new marketised matrix of education requires a new kind of analysis to understand these new patterns of regulation and mediation.

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  • Date of publication: 01/05/2012
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 154
  • Publisher: Sense publishers
  • Subject:
    Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Life Politics: conversations about education and culture
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: $39
  • ISBN: 978-94-6091-538-3
  • Buy used and new from: Amazon