The "attainment gap" in Scottish education policy a critique of policy values: "Not ideas, but material and ideal interests, directly govern men's conduct" Max Weber

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The discipline of psychology’s ontological universe consists of individuals, not social class structures. Psychology has immense authority in the capitalist neo-liberal order. My argument is the latter ‘lubricates’ and justifies conservative political values through individualistic ideas of sources of merit and causes of achievement. The attainment gap in Scotland, it is argued, occurs as the outcome of sociological struggles whose outcomes are disproportionately adverse for the working-class. The policy-making educational establishment examined supresses fundamental political questions about class structures and their implications in terms of education outcomes. Instead by privileging a Victorian mythology of individual effort policy enable the persistence of inequalities which it masks through psychological discourses of effortfulness. The limiting psychological framing of learners and their difficulties as just cognitive in origin is a convenient political theorization favoured by a cautious Scottish policy-making establishment. The history of the intelligence testing movement (also) supported the ideology that IQ was an objective measure of capacity. This movement’s culturally biased testing methodologies legitimated the continuation of societal inequality. Max Weber’s social closure perspective is a radically different theory affording insight into the attainment gap as a phenomenon of class conflict dynamics. The latter include opportunity hoarding and cognate exclusionary strategies disadvantaging poor children. These techniques of power maintenance prevent children from working-class backgrounds achieving their potential whilst sinisterly conveying the impression they are not working with adequate effort hence they are made blameworthy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022
EventUWS Research Festival 2022 - UWS Lanarkshire Campus, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jun 202224 Jun 2022
https://www.uws.ac.uk/research/research-environment/uws-research-festival/

Conference

ConferenceUWS Research Festival 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period20/06/2224/06/22
Internet address

Keywords

  • attainment
  • sociology
  • Weber
  • class
  • closure
  • psychology

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