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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An autonomist biopolitics of education: Reframing educational life in the age of neoliberal multiculturalism
by Bourassa, Gregory N., Ph.D., The University of Utah, 2016, 202; 10162741
Abstract (Summary)

Building upon an emerging literature of educational biopolitics, this dissertation develops and thinks through some concepts to explore the prevailing forms of educational life (constituted bíos) that schools commonly promote in the service of constituted power and, alternatively, the kinds of educational life (constituent bíos) that call constituted power into question and portend new possibilities and alternative arrangements of being. In considering the kinds of life that schools typically allow and disallow, this philosophical dissertation poses the following educational problem: schools have long celebrated and reproduced a limited and corrosive formulation of educational life (constituted bíos) while foreclosing constituent forms. Moreover, the emergent social, political and epistemological strengths of students marginalized in the configuration of constituted power—the component parts of constituent bíos —are routinely deemed inferior in schools and often regarded as a contaminating threat that must be eliminated. Using the concepts of constituent and constituted bíos as units of analysis, this study explores how progressive and critical educational approaches, such as culturally relevant teaching and resistance theory, also fail to account for and appreciate constituent forms of educational life. In order to offer a more nuanced understanding of the relation between forms of life and schools, this study offers an autonomist biopolitics of education. With this orientation, constituent bíos is recognized as the foundational and constitutive motor to which schools are constantly reacting and attempting to “deal with.” Such a perspective might help educators be more attuned and responsive to the constituent dimensions of social ontology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Margonis, Frank
Commitee: Deyhle, Donna, Fong, Edmund, Pierce, Clayton, Strine, Mary
School: The University of Utah
Department: Education, Culture and Society
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: DAI-A 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Philosophy, Education philosophy
Keywords: Autonomist Marxism, Culturally relevant teaching, Educational biopolitics, Neoliberal multiculturalism, Resistance theory
Publication Number: 10162741
ISBN: 978-1-369-17529-5
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