Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

The Paradox of Neoliberal Education Bureaucracy and Hysterical Resistance: The Case of New Zealand Schooling

Buy Article:

$22.10 + tax (Refund Policy)

Neoliberal discourse often positions itself as the antithesis of bureaucracy. However, as the hegemonic political project of the past forty years, neoliberalism has imposed various forms of bureaucracy, most notably, those that audit performance. This contradiction between antagonism towards bureaucracy and bureaucratising tendencies is particularly resonant in the contemporary neoliberalised education sector, where the perceived risk of not producing self-managing, autonomous, economically productive subjects must be minimised through audit mechanisms which, conversely, necessarily decrease those capacities in students. Through a case study of the neoliberalisation of New Zealand's school sector, using the lens of Lacan's four discourses, this article argues that the discourses of the Master and the University have worked together to sometimes obscure, but at other times highlight, this contradiction. Drawing on policy documents, political speeches and reports, I highlight that a key policy which increased the visibility of the contradiction was National Standards, introduced in 2007 to reduce the risk of the unknown through the collection of performance data. I also draw on interviews with educationalists who adopt the discourse of the hysteric as a means to publicly highlight this contradiction, contesting the symbolic mandate of the teacher-as-data-node, while avoiding the kinds of full-frontal resistance that might cost them their jobs and jeopardise the education of children.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • new formations is an inter-disciplinary journal of culture, politics and theory. It covers a wide range of issues, from the seduction of perversity to questions of nationalism and postcolonialism.

    'essential reading for those who want to understand politics in the light of the most important trends in contemporary theory' Chantal Mouffe.

  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more