Struggling for the Soul: The Politics of Schooling and the Construction of the Teacher

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9780807737293: Struggling for the Soul: The Politics of Schooling and the Construction of the Teacher

In this volume, Thomas Popkewitz tackles the persistent concern about unequal educational opportunities in the United States. He extends the theory of social epistemology argued in "A Political Sociology of Educational Reform" through an ethnographic study of a national reform programme that recruited teacher interns for urban and rural schools throughout the US. The book explores how the "knowledge systems" and "reason" by which teachers organize, observe, supervise and evaluate children produces norms that function to exclude children who are poor and of colour. The study introduces new sets of concepts that will be fruitful for examining how everyday distinctions and divisions of teaching designate the qualities of the child as different and outside of normalcy. These concepts are "the recipe knowledge" for classroom management; the "double relationships", where the negative social characteristics assigned to children of colour are inverted to classify the "positive" characteristics that teachers nurture and develop; and the "alchemy of school subject" that enables us to think about how the knowledge of science and mathematics, for example, is reshaped and fashioned as curriculum practices. Through the author's subtle interweaving of postmodern social and political theories with the ethnographic data about everyday life and language, this volume contributes a critical lens that seeks to change the way we see the construction of difference and multiculturalism in America's schools.

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