Debates about education policy in Australia are dominated by neoliberal approaches to the management of social institutions and the sociological critique of that management. This paper takes seriously Felix Guattari's claim that “we have the unconscious that we deserve” to consider whether we have the education policy in Australia that we deserve(Guattari, 2011, p. 9). We argue for a conceptualisation and consideration of education policy that goes beyond the twin poles, economic rationalisms support of and sociological approaches critique of, the current policy landscape in Australia. What happens when education policy is seen not as a crisis that requires economic management or as a series of powerful production of normalising discourses, but instead is seen as a collection of desiring machines that are linked to a series of exit and entry points, of micro-fascisms and lines of flight, to move beyond an individualised critique to a series of machinic, rather than transcendental, connections? This paper proposes using Guattari's ideas of the machinic unconscious and machinic subjectivity to move beyond conceptions of education policy captured by individual and collective enunciations that exhaust the field of possibilities within that policy environment.
Guattari's post-psychoanalytic philosophy offers a way to move beyond the individual/collective binary that operates as a field of capture of subjectivities. For Guattari this capture is enabled by theories (including psychoanalytic theory) that privilege “a certain universalist representation of subjectivity” that oscillates between an individualised and a collective assemblage(Guattari, 1995, p. 3). While Guattari is best known for his collaboration with the French philosopher Giles Deleuze, this work will focus on his individual theoretical contribution, his solo writing that comes from his training with Lacan, his work as a psychoanalyst at the radical clinic La Borde and his political activism. Guattari suggests that we should be looking for “an unconscious turned towards the future whose screen would be none other than the possible itself” (Guattari, 2011, p. 10). With this in mind the paper will explore the possibility of Guattari's machinic unconscious in the context of the Education Revolution in Australia.