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Fabricating an identity in neo-liberal times: performing schooling as ‘number one’
journal contributionposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Amanda KeddieAmanda Keddie, M Mills, D Pendergast
This paper presents interview data from a case study of ‘Lemontyne College’; a large government school situated in a ‘master planned community’ (MPC) in Australia. The paper draws on Ball’s (2003) theorising of performativity and fabrication to analyse this school’s take up of the status‐oriented corporate discourses of performance, competition and accountability. This theorising brings to light the ways in which the managerial processes at the school, driven by the administration’s embracing of these discourses, shape Lemontyne into an auditable commodity and fabricate an identity around being ‘number 1’. The paper highlights the lack of authenticity of this fabrication by drawing attention to its careful and deliberate construction. Our focus here is on the surveillance and accountability measures required to discipline teachers into this performative sociality and on the alternative reality articulated by teachers in terms of their resistance to this sociality. To these ends, the paper highlights how Lemontyne’s embracing of performative discourses results in a de‐socialisation of schooling relations. We propose that such de‐socialisation compromises efforts in schools to respond productively to social change and in particular to the new equity challenges arising in contexts such as Lemontyne situated in a MPC.