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Disrupting individualisation and psy-disciplines in education, work and society

The role of education tends to be slipping away from knowledge-based education to skills training. Education focuses on enabling and supporting students to become more accountable for their fate in the labor market. To meet present day challenges one seems to need to develop competence of resilience, self-discipline and continuous self-development.

The following literature is a critical exploration of how psy-disciplines, therapeutic culture, vulnerability ethos, pathologisation, pscyhologisation and diagnostics play out in contemporary educational settings from early childhood, inclusive education, special education, vocational and higher education, university, preparatory youth programmes and projects, adult education, educational leadership and beyond. Besides critical insights the literature offers strategies to interrupt and disrupt.

Bendix Petersen, E., & Millei, Z. (Eds.) (2016). Interrupting the Psy-Disciplines in Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Binkley, S. (2011). Happiness, positive psychology and the program of neoliberal governmentality. Subjectivity 4(4), 371–394.

Boler, M. (1997). Disciplined emotions: Philosophies of educated feelings. Educational Theory, 47(2), 203–227.

Brown, K. (2015). Vulnerability and Young People: Care and Social Control in Policy and Practice. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Brown, K. (2014). Questioning the ‘Vulnerability Zeigeist’. Care and Control Practices with ‘Vulnerable’ Young People. Social Policy & Society, 13(3), 1–17.

Brown, K. (2012). Re-moralising ‘vulnerability’. People, Place and Policy, 6(1), 41–53.

Brunila, K. (2014). The Rise of Survival Discourse in the Era of Therapisation and Marketisation of Education. Education Inquiry, 5(1), 7–23.

Brunila, K. (2012). From Risk to Resilience. Education Inquiry, 3(3), 451–464.

Brunila, K. (2012). Hooked on a Feeling. Education, guidance and rehabilitation of youth at risk. Critical Studies in education, 54(2), 215–228.

Brunila, K. (2012). A Diminished Self. entrepreneurial and therapeutic ethos working with the same aim. European Educational Research Journal, 11(4), 477–486. 

Brunila, K. (2011). Mielentilan markkinoilla. Rikostaustaisten nuorten aikuisten koulutus, ohjaus ja kuntoutus. Nuorisotutkimus, 2(29), 81–95.

Brunila, K. (2011). The Projectisation, Marketisation and Therapisation of Education. European Educational Research Journal. SPECIAL ISSUE: Philosophy of Education and the Transformation of Educational Systems, 10(3), 425–437.

Brunila, K., Ikävalko, E., Kurki, T., Mertanen, K., & Mikkola, A. (2016). Revisiting the ’Vulnerability ethos’ in cross-sectoral transition policies and practices for young people. Research in Comparative and International Education, 11(1), 69–79.

Brunila, K., & Ryynänen, S. (2016). New rules of the game: youth training in Brazil and Finland as examples of new global network governance. Journal of Education and Work.

Brunila, K., & Siivonen, P. (2016). Preoccupied with the self: towards self-responsible, enterprising, flexible and self-centred subjectivity in education. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37(1), 56–69.

Burman, E. (2009). Beyond ‘emotional literacy’ in feminist and educational research. British Educational Research Journal, 35(1), 137–155.

Burman, E. (2008). Deconstructing Developmental Psychology (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Burman, E. (2001). Emotions in the classroom: and the institutional politics of knowledge. Psychoanalytic Studies, 3(3–4), 313–324.

Coppock, V. (2011). Liberating the Mind or Governing the Soul? Psychotherapeutic Education. Children’s Rights and the Disciplinary State. Education Inquiry, 2(3),385–399.

Coppock, V. (2002). Medicalising Children’s Behaviour. In B. Franklin (Ed.), The New Handbook of Children’s Rights: Comparative Policy and Practice (2nd ed., pp. 139–154). London: Routledge.

Davis, E. (2005). Docile bodies and disembodied minds. Educational Theory, 46(4), 525–543.

Duncan, G. (2011). Happiness, Sadness and Government. Health, Culture and Society, 5(1), 51–66.

Ecclestone, K. (Ed.) (2013). Emotional Well-Being in Policy and Practice: Interdisciplinary perspectives. London: Routledge.

Ecclestone, K. (2012). From emotional and psychological well-being to character education: challenging policy discourses of behavioural science and ‘vulnerability’. Research Papers in Education, 27(4), 463–480.

Ecclestone, K. (2010). Promoting emotionally vulnerable subjects: the educational implications of an ‘epistemology of the emotions’. Journal of the Pacific Circle Consortium for Education, 22(1), 57–76.

Ecclestone, K., & Brunila, K. (2015). Governing emotionally vulnerable subjects and “therapisation” of social justice. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 23(4), 485–506.

Ecclestone, K., & Goodley, D. (2016). Political and educational springboard or straitjacket? Theorizing post/human subjects in an age of vulnerability. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37(2), 175–188.

Ecclestone, K., Hayes, D., & Furedi, F. (2005). Knowing me, knowing you: The rise of therapeutic professionalism in the education of adults. Studies in the Education of Adults, 37(2), 182–200.

Ecclestone, K., & Lewis, L. (2014). Interventions for Resilience in Educational Settings: Challenging Policy Discourses of Risk and Vulnerability. Journal of Education Policy, 29(2), 195–216.

Fawcett, B. (2009). Vulnerability: questioning the certainties in social work and health. International Social Work, 52(4), 473–484.

Fejes, A., & Dahlstedt, M. (2013).The Confessing Society: Foucault, Confession and Practices of Lifelong Learning. Oxon: Routledge.

Furedi, F. (2009). Wasted. Why Education Isn’t Educating. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Furedi, F. (2003). Therapy Culture. Cultivating vulnerability in an uncertain age. London: Routledge.

Garland, P. (2001). The culture of control: Crime and social order in contemporary society. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Gillies, V. (2011). Social and Emotional Pedagogies: Critiquing the New Orthodoxy of Emotion in Classroom and Behaviour Management. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32(2), 185–202.

Greco, M., & Stenner, P. (2013). Happiness and the Art of Life: Diagnosing the psychopolitics of wellbeing. Health, Culture and Society, 5(1), 1–19.

Harwood, V. (2006). Diagnosing ”disorderly” children. A critique of behaviour disorder discourses. London: Routledge.

Harwood, V., & Allan, J. (2014). Psychopathology at School. Theorizing mental disorders in education. New York: Routledge.

Irisdotter Aldenmyr, S., & Olson, M. (2016). The inward turn in therapeutic education – an individual enterprise promoted in the name of the common good. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 24(3), 387–400.

Kenway, J., & Youdell, D. (2011). The emotional geographies of education: Beginning a conversation. Emotion, Space and Society, 4(3), 131–136.

Kurki, T., & Brunila, K. (2014). Education and training as projectised and precarious politics. Power and Education 6(3), 283–294.

McDonald, M., & O’Callaghan, J. (2008). Positive Psychology: A Foucauldian Critique. The Humanistic Psychologist, 36(2), 127–142.

McLaughlin, K. (2011). Surviving Identity: Vulnerability and the Psychology of Recognition. London: Routledge.

McLeod, J. (2012). Vulnerability and the neo-liberal youth citizen: a view from Australia. Comparative Education, 48(1), 11–26.

Mills, C. (2014). Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The Psychiatrization of the Majority World. London: Routledge.

Mills, C., & Fernando, S. (2014). Globalising Mental Health or Pathologising the Global South? Mapping the Ethics, Theory and Practice of Global Mental Health. Disability and the Global South, 1(2), 188–202.

Mononen Batista-Costa, S., & Brunila, K. (2016). Becoming Entrepreneurial – Transitions and education of unemployed youth. Power and Education, 8(1), 19–34.

Procter, L. (2013). Children, Schooling and Emotion: Exploring the role of emotion in children’s spatial practices in a primary school setting. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Pupavac, V. (2005). Human Security and the Rise of Global Therapeutic Governance. Conflict, Security & Development, 5(2), 161181.

Rose, N. (1999). Governing the soul. The shaping of the private self. London: Free association books.

Rose, N. (1998). Inventing our selves. Psychology, Power and Personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rose, N., & Abi-Rached, J. (2013).  Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Saari, A., & Harni, E. (2015). Onnellisuuden Hermes – Positiivisen psykologian hegemoniapyrkimykset. AGON, 3(47).

Siivonen, P., & Brunila, K. (2014). The making of entrepreneurial subjectivity in adult education. Studies in Continuing Education, 36(2), 160–172.

Timimi, S. (2005). Naughty boys: Antisocial Behaviour, ADHD and the Role of Culture. London: Palgrave.

Timimi, S. (2002). Pathological Child Psychiatry and the Medicalization of Childhood. Hove: Brunner-Routledge.

Youdell, D., & Armstrong, F. (2011). A politics beyond subjects: The affective choreographies and smooth spaces of schooling. Emotion, Space and Society, 4(3), 144150.

Walther, A. (2006). Regimes of youth transitions. Choice, flexibility and security in young people’s experiences across different European contexts. Young, 14(2), 131150.

Watson, D. L., & Emery, C. (2010). From rhetoric to reality: the problematic nature and assessment of children and young people’s social and emotional learning. British Educational Research Journal, 36(5), 767–786.

Wright, K. (2011). The rise of the therapeutic society: psychological knowledge and the contradictions of cultural change. New York: Academia Publishing.

Wright, K., & McLeod, J. (Eds) (2014). Rethinking youth well-being: critical perspectives. New York: Springer.


Queering education

“(…) queer pedagogy, one that refuses normal practices and practices of normalcy, one that begins with an ethical concern for one´s own reading practices, one that is interested in exploring what one cannot bear to know, one interested in the imaginings of a sociality unhinged from the dominant conceptual order.“ (Britzman, 1995, p. 165.)

Ambjörnsson, F. (2008). I en klass för sig. Genus, klass och sexualitet bland gymnasietjejer. Stockholm: Ordfront.

Britzman, D. (1995). Is There a Queer Pedagogy? Or, Stop Reading Straight. Educational Theory, 45(2), 151–165.

Britzman, D. (1998). Lost subjects, contested objects. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Cumming-Potvin, W. & Martino, W. (2014). Teaching about Queer Families: surveillance, censorship, and the schooling of sexualities. Teaching Education, 25(3), 309–333.

Bryson, M. & de Castell, S.  (1993). Queer Pedagogy: Praxis Makes Im/Perfect. Canadian Journal of Education, 18(3), 285–305.

Kjaran, J. I. & Jóhannesson, I. Á. (2014). Inclusion, exclusion and the queering of spaces in two Icelandic upper secondary schools. Ethnography and Education, 10(1), 42–59.

Kjaran, J. & Kristinsdóttir, G. (2014). Queering the environment and caring for the self: Icelandic LGBT students’ experience of the upper secondary school. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 23(1), 1–20.

Kumashiro, K. K. (2002). Troubling Education: Queer Activism and Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge.

Lehtonen, J.(2003). Seksuaalisuus ja sukupuoli koulussa. Näkökulmana heteronormatiivisuus ja ei-heteroseksuaalisten nuorten kertomukset. Nuorisotutkimusseuran/Nuorisotutkimusverkoston julkaisuja 31. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino & Nuorisotutkimusseura.

Martino, W. & Cumming-Potvin, W. (2014). Teaching about sexual minorities and “princess boys”: a queer and trans-infused approach to investigating LGBTQ-themed texts in the elementary school classroom. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 1–21.

McRuer, R. (2006). Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York University Press.

Samuels, E. (2014). Fantasies of Identification. Disability, Gender, Race. New York: NYU Press.

Stockton, K. (2009). The Queer Child. Or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century. Durham: Duke UP.


Literature on disability studies in the context of education and schooling

Adams, J., Swain, J., & Clark. J. (2000). What’s so special? Teachers’ models and realisation in practice in segregated schools. Disability and Society, 15(2), 233–254.

Goodley, D. (2014). Dis/Ability Studies. Theorising Disablism and Ableism. New York: Routledge.

Goodley, D. (2007). Towards socially just pedagogies: Deleuzoguattarian critical disability studies. Internal Journal of Inclusive Education, 11(3), 317–334.

Goodley, D., Hughes, B. & L. Davis. (2012). Disability and Social Theory. New Developments and Directions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Erevelles, N. (1996). Disability and the Dialectics of Difference. Disability & Society, 11(4).

Erevelles, N. (2000). Educating Unruly Bodies: Critical Pedagogy, Disability Studies, and the Politics of Schooling. Educational Theory, 50(1).

Erevelles, N. (2011). Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Enabling a Transformative Body Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hakala, K. (2010). Discourses on inclusion, citizenship and categorizations of ‘special’ in education policy: the case of negotiating change in the governing of vocational special needs education in Finland. European Educational Research Journal, 9(2), 269–283.

Hughes, B. (2001). Disability and the Constitution of Dependency. In L. Barton (Ed.), Disability, Politics & the Struggle for Change (pp. 24-33). London: David Fulton Publishers.

Kauppila, A., & Lappalainen, S. (2015). Vammais- ja koulutuspolitiikan risteyksessä rakentuvan kansalaisuuden paradoksi. Kasvatus, 2(46), 129–142.

Liasidou, A. (2012). Inclusive education and critical pedagogy at the intersections of disability, race, gender and class. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10(1), 168–184.

Mietola, R. (2014). Hankala erityisyys: Etnografinen tutkimus erityisopetuksen käytännöistä ja erityisyyden muotoutumisesta yläkoulun arjessa. Helsinki: Unigrafia.

Niemi, A.-M. (2015). Erityisiä koulutuspolkuja?: Tutkimus erityisopetuksen käytännöistä peruskoulun jälkeen. Helsinki: Unigrafia.

Niemi, A.-M & Kurki, T. (2014). Getting on the right track? Educational choice-making of students with special educational needs in pre-vocational education and training. Disability & Society, 29(10), 1631–1644.

Niemi, A-M & Mietola, R. (2016). Between hopes and possibilities: (Special) educational paths, agency and subjectivities. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, published online 6 October 2016.

Price, M. (2011). Mad at School. Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Snyder, Sharon and David Mitchell. (2006). Cultural Locations of Disability. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Vaahtera, E. (2016). ‘We swam before we breathed or walked’: able-bodied belonging in popular stories of evolutionary biology. Disability & Society, 31(5), 591–603.

Vaahtera, E. (2016). Biopolitics and the repressive hypothesis of the body. The case of swimming training in Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 18(2), 142–153.

Vaahtera, E. (2012). Compulsory Able-Bodiedness and the Stigmatised forms of Nondisability. Lambda Nordica, (1-2)17, 77–101.

Vaahtera, E. (2012). Vammaistutkimusta vammattomuudesta? Teoksessa T. Oikarinen, & H. Pölkki (toim.), Näkökulmia vammaisuuteen (s. 84–91). Helsinki: Vammaisfoorumi ry.

Vaahtera, E. & Vähäpassi, E. (2014). Vammaisuuden haluaminen ja kulttuuriset normit. In Mianna Meskus, Sari Irni & Venla Oikkonen (toim.), Muokattu elämä: Teknotiede, sukupuoli ja materiaalisuus (s. 233–263). Tampere: Vastapaino.

Youdell, D. (2006). Impossible Bodies, Impossible Selves: Exclusions and Student Subjectivities. Dordrecht: Springer.