The Co-Opting of Education: Education and Education Studies from a Political and Economic Discourse

Sandra Abegglen and Jessie Bustillos Morales


This paper offers considerations of how political discourse is intertwined with education. Utilising Foucault’s (1987) notion of discourse we explore its usefulness for producing an analysis of discursive formations which shape education for driving the economy, developing human capital and as a product. Using Foucauldian theory and terminology we follow the maxim of ‘will-to-knowledge’ to illuminate some of the current pressures on the subject of Education Studies. Our discussion develops the notion of discourse to theorise and articulate the ways in which education has been co-opted by political ideologies and infused by the specific economic philosophies which have created ‘neoliberalisations’ in education. The extent to which neoliberali-sation has shaped Education Studies is explored and illustrated, with reference to particular discursive formations. The paper argues that in particular the changing and multi-disciplinary nature of Education Studies make it vulnerable to the changes brought about by the neoliberalisation of education. The first part of the paper dis-cusses the notion of discourse and its usefulness in analysing educational change and the second section critically narrates some of the political discourses which have resulted in particular discursive formations through which education becomes co-opted by government agendas. The final section offers some insights into how these productions of discourse in education impact on the subject of Education Studies.

Abegglen, S. and Bustillos Morales, J. (2018) The Co-Opting of Education: Education and Education Studies from a Political and Economic Discourse. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 9(1). Available at: [Accessed 17 Apr, 2024].