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The Instrumentalisation of the Expressive in Education

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There is a resurgence of matters emotional in education. The concept of ‘emotional intelligence’ is an example. The effective school seems set to become the affective school. Alongside the discourse of instrumental rationality, which is associated with the effective schools movement, is emerging one which speaks of the emotions and creativity. Some possible explanations of this emerging affective tendency are considered. The argument is that a greater emphasis on both the emotions and on creativity can be regarded as functional for the economy. That is, it facilitates production, in both the high–tech and in the high–touch modes of economic activity. And it ‘produces’ consumers (in that pupils are would–be consumers) who are emotionally aware and creative in their quests to construct an identity. In sum, the expressive seems set to be managed for instrumental purposes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Dundee

Publication date: March 1, 2003


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