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Title: The pervasive influence of neoliberalism on policy guidance discourses in career/education : delimiting the boundaries of social justice in New Zealand
Other Titles: Career guidance for social justice : contesting neoliberalism
Authors: Irving, Barrie A.
Keywords: Social justice -- Vocational guidance
Vocational guidance -- Philosophy
Social justice -- New Zealand
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Irving, B. A. (2018). The pervasive influence of neoliberalism on policy guidance discourses in career/education : delimiting the boundaries of social justice in New Zealand. In T. Hooley, R. G. Sultana & R. Thomsen (Eds.), Career guidance for social justice : contesting neoliberalism (pp. 47-62). London: Routledge.
Abstract: Neoliberalism has had a pervasive influence on public policy development in many Western states and continues to shape global thinking. This is apparent in New Zealand, which actively embraced neoliberal policies in the 1980s (Boston & Eichbaum, 2014 ; Larner, 2000), where free-market principles now inform what happens in education (Kelsey, 2002 ; Lauder & Brown, 2007). Broadly, neoliberalism—as noted in some detail in chapter 1 and several other contributions to this volume—privileges the interests of capital by promoting an assumed free market, privatising publicly owned goods, enabling ‘business’, encouraging private enterprise, and supporting the unrestricted fl ow of capital (Harvey, 2005). The economic goals of neoliberalism are encompassed within sets of views and values about how social life must be organised as it seeks to inform, shape, and manipulate individual behaviours and dispositions that conform to market ‘realities’ (Davies & Bansel, 2007). Espousing the value of competition at all levels and fostering a discourse of self-management, the development of what Peters (2016) and several chapters in this volume refer to as a ‘responsibilised individual’ is normalised as liberal discourses of freedom, choice and opportunity are appropriated and positioned within an economic frame. Hence, argues Down (2009), ‘under the influence of neoliberalism the role of schooling has been narrowly redefined as helping students gain the knowledge and skills to ‘get a job’ (p. 51). When viewed through a social justice lens (see Irving, 2010), neoliberalism draws primarily from a retributive discourse. The privileging of the concept of homo economicus , i.e. the rational, self-serving individual (Read, 2009) who is held personally accountable for their successes and failures, thus supersedes meaningful recognition of difference, positive respect for diversity, and an equitable distribution of goods and resources, which contributes to sociocultural fairness and a sense of community belonging. Here, concern with collective well-being and the social good is replaced by a focus on market-oriented goals, buoyed by the premise that individuals are fundamentally competitive and selfi sh, where inequality is perceived to act as a motivating force. As a form of governmentality which carries with it a sense of moral obligation for individuals to self-manage their lives (Larner, 2000 ; Peters, 2016), the primary goals of neoliberalism are continually (re)stated through the use of selected language, presented as ‘common-sense’ explanations, and/or positioned as ‘taken-for-granted’ truths (Apple, 2006). Thus a new and enduring global reality is presented that all must subscribe to if a meaningful life is to be lived, regardless of their political views. Emerging from this is a process of governing without government (Lemke, 2002 , chapters 9 and 16 , this volume), where individuals come to regulate their own behaviours, and the behaviours of others. As it intersects with technologies of the self, an oppressive climate is created through which individuals come to accept, internalise, and take up neoliberal discourse, claiming it as their own (Foucault, 1988). A critical reading of the word and the world (Freire, 1996) provides insight into the multiple, complex and contradictory intersections of discourse, power, dominance, in/equality, and social in/justice (van Dijk,1993). Employing critical discourse analysis (CdA) to expose embedded power relations in talk and text (Luke, 1998) I examine the relationship between neoliberalism and social justice in the policy guidance for career/ education and guidance being produced in a range of forums by problematising how reality is constituted, and disrupting the taken-for-granted commonplace truths presented. Seeking to uncover the meanings and intentions that underlie language use, I show how international perspectives on policy development that are shaping expectations for career/education and guidance are connected to what happens in New Zealand in its quest to develop a market-oriented ‘self’. More specifically, I critically examine the messages that fl ow through the document Career Education and Guidance (CEG) in New Zealand Schools published by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2009. The CEG guidelines offer ‘advice and support to schools on providing effective career education and guidance in years 7 to 13’ (p. 5). To facilitate this, it ‘outlines a set of career management competencies young people need to develop , and suggests an effective model of career education and guidance that can be used to develop these’ (p. 6, emphasis added). These competencies were adapted from the Australian Blueprint for Career Education (MoE, 2009 , p. 9), on the assumption that transnational policies and practices can easily be borrowed, and simply reconfigured, to meet local conditions (Hooley, Watts, Sultana, & Neary, 2012). Although positioned as advice, the CEG guidelines effectively present schools with the state’s expectations of what career education and guidance is and what outcomes it will achieve, supported by a ‘proven’ model of practice.
ISBN: 9781138087385
Appears in Collections:Career guidance for social justice : contesting neoliberalism

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