n South African Journal of Education - Oor verbeelding en verwerkliking in opvoedingsbeleid

Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



On imagination and performance in education policy. I explore some of the ambiguities and contradictions in conceptualising education policy. The contradiction between imagination and performance forms the basis for thinking about the power of education policy to shape transformation. I argue that, contrary to my initial allurement to the critical power of imagination, the power of education policy to transform should be sought in allowing the multiplicity of performances to challenge our historically imbued imagination. An analysis from a poststructural perspective of the conceptualisation of policy text as an imagination of the future reveals the ambivalence of this notion. If 'our' imagination is the outcome of a temporal spatial linked identity - a collective socio-political imaginaire reproduced in our discursive practices - how can it contradict, be creative and transcend ongoing discourses? If 'our' imagination is regulated by the unarticulated rules of a dominant discourse and particular embodiments thereof, how will that enable reconstituting the future? My initial resistance to the critical power of the notion of performance as historically embedded habitual patterns of action or as homogenised global performance is, however, contradicted by my experience as comparative educationist with the myriad of alternative responses to similar global challenges. Only in our sensitivity to difference will we allow performance voice beyond the meaning determined by a 'standardised gaze', beyond the boundaries of 'our' stereotyped meaning and the powerful imaginary of the market.

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