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Curriculum Studies

Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson

The Story So Far

Personal Knowledge and Educational Research

As we have seen, story telling has been a sign in the media of a move away from cultural and political analysis. Why then might we assume that it would be any different in educational and social research. After all, educational research has tended to be behind mainstream cultural and political analysis in its cogency and vitality rather than ahead of it.

Let us go back a step. Storytelling came in because the modes of cultural and political analysis were biased, white, male and middle class. Other ways of knowing and representing grew at the periphery to challenge the biased centre. However, these oppositional discourses, having achieved some success in representing ‘silenced voices’ have remained ensconced in the particular and the specific. They have, in short, not developed their own linkages to cultural, political analysis.

The assumption of so much postmodernist optimism is that by empowering new voices and discourses, by telling you stories in short, we will rewrite and re-inscribe the old white male bourgeois rhetoric, so it may be. But, so what?

New stories do not of themselves analyse or address the structures of power. Is it not the commonsensical level, worthy of pause, to set the new stories and new voices against a sense of the centre's continuing power? The western version of high modernity is everywhere ascendant - we have an unparalleled ‘end of history triumphalism’ with most of the historical challenges vanquished. Is this new ascendant authoritarian capital a likely vehicle for the empowerment of the silenced and the oppressed? This seems unlikely, particularly as capital has historically been the vehicle for the very construction and silencing of the same oppressed groups. Is it not more likely then that new discourses and voices that empower the periphery actually at one and the same time fortify, enhance and solidify the old centres of power. In short, are we not witnessing the old game of divide and rule?

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  • Date of publication: 15/09/2005
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £27.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-35220-8
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