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How Not to Be Governed by Social and Emotional Standards

Line T. Hilt (University of Bergen, Norway)

Educational Standardisation in a Complex World

ISBN: 978-1-80071-590-5, eISBN: 978-1-80071-589-9

Publication date: 20 April 2022


This chapter contributes to the field of educational standardisation by critically discussing the recent preoccupation with social and emotional abilities as performance standards in education policies and curriculum. The chapter is philosophical-theoretical in scope and sheds light on standardisation of social and emotional abilities through the different theoretical layers of the Foucauldian notion of governmentality. By bringing the writings of the late Foucault to the fore, I will argue that the power structures imbued in social and emotional standards are not merely oppressive and vertical structures of subjection, but can also be seen as enabling, relational and productive means for subjectivation. Thus, although social and emotional standards certainly can be seen as governmental measures in the production of a flexible, diligent, self-managing workforce, ensuring the kind of transferable non-cognitive skills that are so much needed in the knowledge economy, educators can ambiguously also construct public spaces for political-ethical self-creation and resistance in context of these ‘standards of the self’.



Hilt, L.T. (2022), "How Not to Be Governed by Social and Emotional Standards", Riese, H., Hilt, L.T. and Søreide, G.E. (Ed.) Educational Standardisation in a Complex World, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 197-216.



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