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Care of the Self in a Context of Accountability


by Michael G. Gunzenhauser — 2008

Background/Context: This article is a part of a larger philosophical and empirical project by the author and collaborators to understand the ways in which high-stakes accountability policy fosters normalizing educational practices and concomitant resistance by educators and students.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: In this article, the author explores how Michel Foucault’s notion of the “care of the self” might provide a conceptual basis for resistance to the normalizing practices and disciplinary power associated with high-stakes accountability and resulting educational practices.

Research Design: The author employs a philosophical analysis of key concepts associated with normalization, the care of the self, the educated self, and high-stakes accountability. The article is presented as a philosophical argument.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The author suggests that to shift attention from limited notions of the self toward expansive and creative possibilities for constituting the self requires clarity on what we mean by the educated self in a context of accountability. It also necessitates a new professional ethics characterized by critical reflection and intersubjective engagement.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 10, 2008, p. 2224-2244
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15192, Date Accessed: 12/15/2017 3:16:41 AM

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About the Author
  • Michael G. Gunzenhauser
    University of Pittsburgh
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL G. GUNZENHAUSER is associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches courses in philosophy of education, social foundations, and research methodology. His research interests center on issues of social justice in education, specifically the ethical and epistemological grounding of the work of educators and educational researchers. His most recent work has been published in Educational Theory, Educational Studies, Review of Higher Education , and Qualitative Inquiry, and he has contributed to the edited collections Cultural Matters: Lessons Learned From Field Studies of Several Leading School Reform Strategies (edited by William Pink and George Noblit) and Postcritical Ethnography: Reinscribing Critique (edited by George Noblit, Enrique Murillo, and Susana Flores).
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