The “radical” in Australian schooling: Towards an historiophilosophical map of the movements of a concept

Year: 2016

Author: Low, Remy, Mayes, Eve

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper begins a historiophilosophical mapping of the movements of the concept of “radical” in Australian schooling in the past forty years. For Deleuze and Guattari (1994/ 2009), “every concept [like “radical”] has a history, even though this history zigzags, though it passes, if need be, through other problems or onto other planes” (p. 18). An historiophilosophical map, following Lundy (2011), after Deleuze and Guattari (1994/ 2009), considers the relations between concepts, and their manifestations in concrete historical configurations.In the recent history of Australian schooling, the concept of “radical” has shifted and moved, with consequences for students, teachers and schools. This paper focuses in on the first issue of two Australian magazines aimed at teachers: the Radical Education Dossier (1976) and Connect (1979). The mobilisation of the concept of “radical” in these texts is analysed in relation to the historical milieu of the late 1970s, and compared with the mobilisation of the concept of “radical” in the recent Australian Government publication Preventing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in Australia (2015). The term “radical” has, in recent history, become discursively collapsed with violent extremism; to be young and “radical” has become synonymous with being “at risk” (Coppock & McGovern, 2014; Kundnani, 2012). The dynamic directionality of movements of “radicalisation” and “deradicalisation” is compared across these texts and their historical milieus.Commonwealth of Australia. (2015). Preventing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in Australia. Retrieved from, V., & McGovern, M. (2014). ‘Dangerous minds’? Deconstructing counter-terrorism discourse, radicalisation and the ‘psychological vulnerability’ of Muslim children and young people in Britain. Children & Society, 28(3), 242-256. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1994/ 2009). What is philosophy? (H. Tomlinson & G. Burchill, Trans.). London & New York: Verso.Kundnani, A. (2012). Radicalisation: The journey of a concept. Race & Class, 54(2), 3-25. Lundy, C. (2011). Deleuze and Guattari’s historiophilosophy: Philosophical thought and its historical milieu. Critical Horizons. 12(2), 115-135.