This essay will review chapters two and eight from the text Practicing Education by Meadmore et al, and discuss the concepts of discipline and devolution and the conceptual links between them. This text will then seek to address: how devolution operates as a form of discipline, how devolution works for and against equity, an example of how devolution governs schooling and finally, proposing one strategy for making an aspect of devolution more equitable within primary education.
The topic of educational institutions being an organised disciplinary society is the central theme of chapter two. Central is the gradual organisational changed that have arisen over time and the three key areas that have instigated these changes. Many of these changes, Meadmore et al suggest, also brought aboutchanges in the way society if governed, effect not only how schools sought to educate pupils, but also reorganising ways in which individuals conceptualise their place within society?.
The first of these changes was societal changes, brought about by the ability to collect and analyse large amounts of information (data) about a population, thereby allowing a government toknow? the population. Hacking (1982) refers to this asan avalanche of numbers?, developing the notion of apopulation?, with inherent characteristics, features and categories. With this subsequent knowledge, we were then able to break these categories down into large numbers of sub-categories, each of which could be addressed and managed in their own way.
Meadmore suggests that the important issue arising from this is that people wereno longer part of an unknown and unknowable mob?.
Prior to this time, government (and school management) had, in a sense, been its own purpose, operating almost exclusively in the interests of the ruler. With this new knowledge of the populus, government (discipline) then began to be more directed at the population.