chapter  6
12 Pages

Lacanian perspectives on education policy analysis

WithMatthew Clarke

Education policy in recent decades has witnessed the replacement of politics by management, with a consequent emphasis on instrumentally conceived knowledge and a focus on the promotion of values of effectiveness and efficiency: more, higher and better. Lacanian psychoanalytic theory is perhaps not the most obvious candidate as a resource for policy analysis. The use of language and the capacity for desire are inextricably linked in Lacanian theory and come together in the mirror stage. The mirror stage involves recognition of self in the specular image of the other perceived in the mirror. Lacanian psychoanalytic theory presents with a view of knowledge as indelibly marked by ignorance and of subjects irremediably split between conscious and unconscious whilst fissured between the three ontological registers of the imaginary, the symbolic and the Real. These ideas have considerable purchase in terms of social and educational policy analysis.