Orwellian codes of behaviour exploring ideological power in education research policy

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Conceptions of education research as independent and serving the interests of truth have come to represent freedoms that emerge from the application of intellectual inquiry. Critiques of education research and its relevance to the enhancement of education, coupled with neoliberal market-led pragmatism, have contributed to the erosion of an enlightenment heritage. In this nexus, empowerment is replaced by control. There is an absence of analysis of the Scottish National Party’s education research policy which means its regime of governance through logics of quantification productive of asymmetries of power has gone unrecognized. It is argued this policy produces a metrification of teaching and research which constructs teaching and research as servile to external discourses. These encroachments into autonomy and professionalism are intellectually clandestine as they operate through assumptive worlds holding that evidence is value-free rather than the outcome of constructivist processes driven by choice. Orwell’s dystopian vision of a subjugated society informs the meaning of the argument in the paper—that technologies of control and surveillance re-shape teacher autonomy and instrumentalize research such that its power to arbitrate is emasculated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalPower and Education
Issue number3
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • policy
  • research
  • control
  • dystopia
  • discourse
  • Orwell
  • disenchantment


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