Negotiating Neo Liberal Education in the Midst of Crisis: Towards a Concept of ‘Refraction’

Timothy Rudd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This paper highlights the concept of ‘refraction’ (Rudd & Goodson 2016; 2012: Goodson & Rudd 2016), as a methodological and conceptual tool for exploration and research and in helping to understand how dominant (and global) waves of reform are mediated, or refracted, resulting in a varied responses and often unintended outcomes. It seeks to highlight both the influence of power and ideology but also the alternative educational systems, practice, discourse and beliefs that exist and thrive, in spite of, and counter to, the predominant neo liberal waves of reform. Methodologically, it orientates explorations toward the individual narratives, exploring the origins and antecedents of practice and action at one level, whilst simultaneously examining the meso, macro and supra level responses to waves, or cycles, of reform. Furthermore, it also explores reform and practice in relation to wider historical periods and developments. Translation, or refraction, of dominant waves of reform occurs in range of different ways and for various reasons and this complexity requires conceptual and theoretical tools that support better exploration and investigation. These can provide rich and contextualised understandings of practice, rather than it being viewed as linear or direct responses imposed change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlternative Educational Futures Conference 2016
EditorsM. Wood
Place of PublicationShrewsbury, UK
PublisherEducational Heretics Press
ISBN (Print)9781900219495
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


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