A spoonful of aspiration helps the policy go down: regional enactment of globalised policy imperatives

Year: 2012

Author: Doyle, Tanya, Salter, Peta

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Globalised neo-liberal policy imperatives are changing the nature of the global labour market and while economic productivity and competition are positioned as central to the future prosperity of the nation-state.  Contemporary Federal policy discourses locate the need for Australia's improved productivity and competitive edge in close proximity to an 'aspirational citizenry' in which all Australians are marked with particular qualities of distinction - that is, they are 'innovators' who 'know Asia'.  Furthermore, Australians, and more specifically Australian school students, are increasingly required to consider 'new' worlds of work in which the concepts of 'Innovation' and 'Asia' become integral to new social imaginaries. It follows then, that the 'aspirations' of students and the 'opportunities' available to them become significant analytical sites for regional policy mediation and enactment of globalised policy imperatives, particularly as these concepts work simultaneously to both shape individual imaginaries and to provide critical policy leverage in the broader neo-liberal economic project.  This paper compares data from two case studies generated from two distinct yet associated sites of policy enactment - two high schools in regional Queensland - with key policy foci drawn from three Federal policy documents, namely; Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century (2009); Australia in the Asian Century (2011) and finally The Australian Curriculum (2012).  This comparison elucidates common points of tension around 'doctoring' student aspirations that highlight (mis)alignment with Federal policy imperatives.