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Beyond the ‘terrors of performativity’: dichotomies, identities and escaping the panopticon



Goodley, Claire;

Perryman, Jane;

(2022)

Beyond the ‘terrors of performativity’: dichotomies, identities and escaping the panopticon.

London Review of Education
, 20
(1)


, Article 29. 10.14324/lre.20.1.29.

Abstract

This article examines the influence of Stephen Ball’s work through the eyes of two former teachers turned academics who met through a mutual interest in his paper, ‘The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity’. We note our personal reactions to this particular paper and how Ball’s body of work has and continues to influence our thinking, careers and research. We note that his highly readable, provocative style of writing and passionate denunciation of league tables, inspections and the associated paraphernalia of control that appear central to neoliberal models of educational governance continue to prove useful in understanding global educational policy. This article also critically engages with the effects of such a seminal paper on the lived experience of the teaching profession. The first author argues that while Ball’s writing is useful to understand the pressures and struggles that teachers face, Ball’s use of Foucauldian notions such as ‘docile bodies’ and ‘subject-position’ can be seen to flatten out teachers, rendering them passive bystanders rather than agentic professionals. The second author revisits and recalls the influence of the paper on her early work, particularly on her concept of ‘panoptic performativity’, and the impact that the paper, and Stephen Ball’s work in general, continues to have on the wider field.

Type: Article

Title: Beyond the ‘terrors of performativity’: dichotomies, identities and escaping the panopticon
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14324/lre.20.1.29
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.14324/lre.20.1.29
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022, Claire Goodley and Jane Perryman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Stephen J. Ball, accountability, teachers, performativity, figured worlds theory, Michel Foucault
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE – Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10154605
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