A thousand tiny pluralities: children becoming-other than the requirements of postsecular neoliberal policy recognition

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    This paper critiques the idea that secular education policy can neutrally recognise children’s non/religious identities at school. It also empirically analyses how one child becomes restricted by, and eludes, classed, gendered and adult-centred moral codes enacted through local school recognition. The concept of policy assemblage is first used to problematise postsecular, market-led enactments of non/religious school community recognition transnationally. I argue postsecular policy enactments in Ireland and elsewhere produce viable and non-viable forms of non/religious school community, thus containing, rather than facilitating school plurality and (re)creating social hierarchies. However, drawing on Deleuzian ideas of becoming and partial objects, I argue children are not determined by the sense-making moral codes of the policy assemblage. To demonstrate this argument, I map instances of how one girl alters and eludes the meanings of austerity, choice and authenticity moral codes. I do not privilege this girl as an example of child resistance, as I argue against using children as barometers of policy authority and secularist authenticity. Instead, I contend that alongside naming and opposing policy’s unjust effects, we need to cultivate attention to our capacity to affect and be affected by the partial objects (e.g. moral codes) and becomings of postsecular neoliberal policy assemblages.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    JournalCritical Studies in Education
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


    • Childhood
    • Deleuze
    • Postsecular
    • Religion
    • School

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