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ERIC Number: EJ859290
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1740-2743
Like the Other Kings Have: A Theory of Sovereignty and the Persistence of Inequality in Education
Senese, Guy; Wood, Gerald
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, v7 n1 p50-66b Jun 2009
Public education discourse is dominated by nostalgia for an idea of humanity, which has existed more strongly in high culture discourse than it has in public schools. Political liberal and conservative discourses agree that the process of compulsory public education is an expression of the state as it works to justly distribute "life chances" through the exercises of schooling and the credentials that ensue from those exercises. The debate is centered on whether the exercises are just. This paper is an attempt to apply a developing scholarship on the concept of sovereignty to this old problem, and particularly to help explicate a deeper level of resistance to change regarding educational inequality. Drawing from Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, and from the Italian philosopher and philologist Georgio Agamben, this re-visitation of the concept of sovereignty is a Foucauldian excavation of the substrate of feudalism and imperial Romanism, whose ancient tropes of property and humanity work like a parasite on the body of public education, appearing periodically right under its skin. This work suggests the power of pre-Christian even pre-"European" enlightenment ideas, toward a deeper archeology of exclusion.
Institute for Education Policy Studies. University of Northampton, School of Education, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK. Tel: +44-1273-270943; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona