Curriculum as capture: Policy mediatising and the securing of alterity.

Year: 2019

Author: Kelly, Stephen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper examines the concept of curriculum epistemicide by exploring the relations between policy making, representations of security, the nation and curriculum, and their effects on subjectivity. If as Pareskeva and de Sousa Santos argue, the visibility of southern ontologies and epistemologies are submerged by colonial framings of curriculum, then the ongoing effects of epistemicide might be located in the use of curriculum to secure the values of Western civilization. I use the policies of Prime Minister Howard’s Coalition government as a datum, to connect a liberal vision of civil society to the means of producing the image of a virtuous subject within the logic of securing the nation. In the Howard era, concerns about the danger of what subaltern people do with their thinking, legitimised policies of formation beyond and within the nation. In recent times we have seen the repositioning of the virtues of Western civilization through policy events such as the review of the Australian Curriculum and the lodging of the Ramsey Centre for Western civilization. These policy enactments have been subject to policy problematisation in the media but have also been refused by narrative responses by populations subject to these security discourses.

The paper aims to interrogate curriculum epistemicide through the nesting of security policies and their mediatization. The analysis of media texts, including the representation of Indigenous securitisation in popular narrative, will be important for pointing to ways that human subjects might refuse the subjugation of their ontological difference as securitised subjects.

The paper draws on Santos’ notion of diatopical hermeneutics and Foucault’s conceptualisation of power, knowledge and the subject to imagine how curriculum epistemicide might (a) constitute de-subjugated relations of being between human subjects, (b) enables de-subjugated enactments in space and place materially possible (c) act as a form of subectivation enabling beings to act upon the limits of (cultural) knowledge that governs their experience.Methodologically, Bacchi’s approach to discourse analysis is used to problematise the representation of ontological difference in policy and media texts and its effect on human subjectivity.

In gesturing to the problems and possibilities of the effects of curriculum epistemicide, I argue for a curriculum constituted through an immanent relation to things in the world and enacted through a pedagogy in which the ‘struggle for subjectivity presents itself, therefore, as the right to difference, variation and metamorphosis’ (Deleuze, 2006, p. 106).