Rhetorics of regulation in education after the global economic crisis

David Hartley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Economic crises such as those of 1929, 1973 and 2008 appear to associate with shifts in the rhetorics of management. These dates mark the end of expansionary phases within an economic cycle, and they portend what James O'Connor has called a 'fiscal crisis of the state'. It is argued, speculatively, that immediately before and after an economic crisis - be it occasioned by financial bubbles (as in 1929) or by other events (such as the 1973 oil crisis) - a 'normative' or 'commitment' managerial rhetoric develops. This rhetoric strikes a more emollient tone than that of the 'control' or 'rational' rhetoric which had marked the early stages of the economic up-swing. The current economic crisis may follow this pattern. In England, there are already indications that the regulatory rhetoric which applies both to organisational structures and to pedagogical processes is become 'normative' in its appeal; it is a 'commitment' rhetoric which purports to serve what O'Connor has termed both 'accumulation' and 'legitimation'. As an example of this rhetoric, the paper draws briefly upon Paul Adler and Charles Heckscher's concept of 'collaborative community'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-791
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • pedagogy
  • economic cycle
  • economics
  • education
  • analysis
  • management styles
  • discourse


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