ERIC Number: EJ795117
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: 38
Contemporary Public Policy Influencing Children and Families: "Compassionate" Social Provision or the Regulation of "Others"?
Cannella, Gaile S.; Swadener, Beth Blue
International Journal of Educational Policy, Research, and Practice: Reconceptualizing Childhood Studies, v7 n1 p81-93 2006
Critical analysis of change in public policy within and across nations recognizes that the education and welfare of children, families, and all citizens is intertwined with economics, politics, and cultural discourse(s). In the United States, increasingly narrow media, judiciary, and academic discourses have supported legislative actions that limit social provision and opportunity for a range of children and family types, including linguistic and cultural minorities. This narrowing of discourses and shift in policies is not simply a change in U.S. policy toward children and their families within American borders, but is used to support a particular political agenda and represents narrowing of perspectives spreading around the world. In the name of accountability, experts in the administration of achievement and ability tests are "training and testing the world"--without even a discussion of the embeddedness of transnational capitalism in the testing agenda, monocultural views of knowledge, or acknowledgement of the conceptual, cultural, and contextual limits of testing as construct. A shift in resources is occurring so that those who "talk the talk" and "play the game" are the recipients of social, intellectual, and material support. A bolstered patriarchal enactment of Empire within U.S. borders, as well as around the world, is generating an even more restricted form of neoliberal politics that places hyper-capitalism at the forefront. The purpose of this paper is to describe possible (however contingently, and with a postmodern avoidance of the construction of new "truths") disciplinary and regulatory methods that are being used to impose this "new" hyper-capitalism on children and their families. While actually and ultimately impacting all of the people, this imposition most often targets children and families from socially excluded and marginalized groups ("those" within the U.S. who have most in common with the "less powerful" around the world because of their skin color, gender, socioeconomic level, language, and/or religious practices). In this article, the authors combine hybrid perspectives like post-colonial critique, feminist, and post-structural analysis to further hybridize their unveiling of these hyper-capitalist (and patriarchal) public policy methods. They focus on the need for an international network of critical social science research that constructs new discourses and forms of public communication, as well as academic activism.
Descriptors: Social Science Research, Social Systems, Social Sciences, Politics of Education, Public Policy, Policy Formation, Policy Analysis, Agenda Setting, Critical Theory, Social Theories, Political Power, Social Control, Child Psychology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A