This edited collection combines quantitative content and critical discourse analysis to reveal a shift in the rhetoric used as part of the neoliberal agenda in education. It does so by analysing, uncovering, and commenting on language as a central tool of education.

Focussing on vocabulary, metaphors, and slogans used in strategy documents, advertising, policy, and public discourse, the text illustrates how concepts such as justice, opportunity, well-being, talent, and disadvantage have been hijacked by educational institutes, governments, and universities. Showing how neoliberalism has changed discourses about education and educational policy, these chapters trace issues such as anti-intellectualism, commercialization, meritocracy, and an erasure of racial difference back to a contradictory growth in egalitarian rhetoric.

Given its global scope, this volume offers a timely intervention in the studies of neoliberalism and education by developing a holistic vision of how the language of neoliberalism has changed how we think about education. It will prove to be an essential resource for scholars and researchers working at the intersections of education, policymaking, and neoliberalism.

chapter 2|11 pages

Politics by the Numbers 1

chapter 3|23 pages

Playing on Two Tables

Advertising and Science in OECD’s Educational Rhetoric

chapter 4|21 pages

Neoliberalism and Laissez-Faire 1

The Retreat from Naturalism

chapter 5|17 pages

Neoliberalism as Political Discourse

The Political Arithmetic of Homo Oeconomicus

chapter 7|20 pages

Hard Work, Growth Mindset, Fluent English

Navigating Neoliberal Logics

chapter 12|15 pages

From Racial Equity to Closing the Achievement Gap

The Discursive “Whiting Out” of Race in Neoliberal Education Policy

chapter 14|8 pages

The Language of Neoliberal Education

An Interview with Henry Giroux