Anne-Marie O'Neill Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
My research and teaching has examined the relationship between education and society, specifically, education's nature and role in the production and reproduction of stratified (unequal) societies. My platform has drawn from across, and contributes to, critical scholarship within policy, educational, gender and curriculum sociology, using educational, feminist, social and political theory. This integrated approach, developed in my Masters Thesis informs the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of Education policy: Globalization, citizenship and democracy (2004, written with M. Olssen and J. Codd, London: Sage). Developed from a Foucauldian perspective this analysis rejects neoliberal forms of governmentality, including globalization and 'third way' solutions, to embrace communitarianism as a basis for a new world order and 'education state'. As an original contribution, this text is a world leader in educational policy sociology, with high numbers of citations in high ranking journals. Reshaping Culture, Knowledge and Learning: Policy and content in the New Zealand Curriculum Framework (2004, edited with J. Clark and R. Openshaw, Palmerston North: Dunmore), critically examines the structure and content of the New Zealand Curriculum Framework. My contributions (5 of 15 chapters) analyse its discursive foundations (e.g. outcomes, technocratic and commercial), assess the field and suggest political and epistemological interventions. More recent book chapters (2006-2008) include the theorising of individualism in Aotearoa New Zealand historically, and in relation to the hegemony of neoliberal discourses on subjectivity, while examining the role of the curriculum in the construction of an enterprise culture. Another builds on previous work to present a synthesized, historical understanding of gender relations in education and our understanding of these. Its analysis of current discourses and the 'moral panic' over boys offers original insights into this issue. A third, presents an analysis of the discursive foundations of the last twenty years of neoliberal governmentality. Surveying national and international literature and locating curriculum change within forms of globalisation, consumer/youth culture and enhanced control over teachers' work, it argues for the importance of critically informed personal and professional responses to neoliberalism in curriculum and offers examples of these.
My research across policy, educational and curriculum sociology has more recently informed a period of teaching intensification, new course development and writing (within groups and singularly) and course rewriting across the above, for four current programmes. During this period of familiarisation with various literature bases and their theoretical developments, I have produced a monograph on curriculum studies (2011) for teaching and begun my doctoral studies. Doctoral work will draw on fieldwork studies of interviews with teachers and principals across three sectors to analyse how recent curriculum changes, including the imposition of numeracy and literacy, the discursive intensification of assessment, the imposition of standards, and the introduction of competencies, is shaping curriculum content and form. The study will locate and theorise the fieldwork in the literature on educational policy, curriculum sociology and critical studies of teachers' work. It will acknowledge local, national and supranational level changes (particularly those driven by our membership of the OECD) in the context of neoliberal globalization. This project will build on and extend previous published work.
More specifically, it will result in the publication of a number of journal articles over the next couple of years. I am currently working on the first of these analysing the discursive foundations of the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007). Following papers will focus on the effects of an assessment-led curriculum, the interpretation and practice of competencies at the school level and the effects of the economization of education through our membership of supranational organizations such as the OECD, on curriculum policy.