Producing Difference: Neo-liberalism, Neoconservatism and the Politics of Educational Reform

Michael W. Apple*

Gritty Materialities

In this chapter, I raise serious questions about current educational ‘reform’ efforts now underway in a number of nations. I use research and arguments based on the English, US, New Zealand, and Scandinavian experience to document some of the hidden differential effects of two connected strategies—neoliberal-inspired market proposals with their emphasis on what I will call ‘thin democracy’ based on individual consumer choice, rather than ‘thick democracy’ based on full collective participation, and neoliberal, neoconservative, and middle-class managerial inspired regulatory proposals.

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