A very interesting and, as ever with Stephen Ball, a very readable account of his approach to Foucault, discourse and education. Useful for those doing Masters or Doctoral work in social sciences/education/healthcare.
I had been very much attracted to Foucault's ideas as I constructed my thesis. I had previously acquired and grappled with numerous quotes which seemed to be relevant to my work. What I lacked was the confidence of having comprehension, if required to argue Foucault's philosophy in a forthcoming viva. In addition to gaining a sound context for the ideas I was citing, this text has given me permission to be unsure and confused, With Foucault, it seems its 'par for the course' - what a relief! This slowly dawned on me as I again struggled to find perspective in the foundation chapter. This I reflect is a requirement to more fully appreciate the clear lens in which contemporary education is subsequently critiqued.
Stephen Ball provides an excellent account of how Foucualt's ideas have been so influential and remain as relevant today as when the eponymous French philosopher penned them more than 30 years ago. Foucault's notion of governmentality collides head on with the current babble of the knowledge economy discourse so lazily linked to the 21st Century skills agenda. His relevance is undimmed and Ball is the trusty pilot to navigate the unfamiliar reader through Foucault's dense discourse. What is Enlightenment ?
The author tries not to write a book about what Foucault said about education, but to use Foucault to write a genealogy, a particular history of education in England inspired of foucaldian concepts and method.