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Crossing the Rubicon: Strategic planning or neo-biopower? A critique of the language of New Zealand’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan


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‘Strategy’ is a word that has had an increasing use in recent years. The discipline of organisational studies has adopted this concept to set out the primacy of good business practices, such as foretelling risk and opportunity. Government policy documents use the term where medium- and long-term goals are set out, for example, the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Pathways to the Future. A Ten-Year Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Education. This article uses Michel Foucault’s methodology of genealogy to trace the emergence of the term ‘strategy’, its use in organisational studies, and its displacement to education, specifically early childhood education in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The study by Richard Whipp into the effectiveness of strategic planning supports the problematising of the term. The study deconstructs some naturalised truths about the image of people, of time, and of analysts’ reflexivity. It asks about the use of terms that originated in the military lexicon, such as ‘manoeuvres’, ‘strategy’, ‘target’, ‘plan’ and ‘risk’, but have slipped to that of business practices, retaining traces, however, of the original military intent. Foucault inverted the phrase that ‘politics is war by any other means’ as institutions centralised control, set up supervision of populations, and collected statistics to plot changed patterns. This article examines some of the tracery that remains in such use of governmental language, and asks if this is the most appropriate lexicon for education.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: early childhood education, lexicon,
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Depositing User: Margaret Stuart
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2009 23:15
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:16

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