Student voice: theorising power and participation

C. Taylor, Carol Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper considers theoretical notions of power in relation to student voice. As an action-oriented practice some aspects of student voice have received little theorisation as yet. This paper aims to contribute to a growing body of work on student voice which is addressing its current theoretical under-elaboration. It does so by concentrating on the dimension of power. The central argument is that power is a significant factor in shaping both the philosophical underpinnings of student voice work and the practical assumptions which are made about what is possible in student voice work. It focuses on the British context, and examines the theoretical legacy student voice has inherited from radical pedagogy, placing a critical spotlight on the notions of ‘empowerment’ and ‘dialogue’. It ends with a consideration of postmodernist notions of power which it is argued provides the opportunity to examine more critically the way in which power conditions what is possible in student voice work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
JournalPedagogy, Culture & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2009


  • student voice
  • empowerment
  • dialogue
  • power
  • postmodernism


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