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The Production of the Problem of Difference in Neoliberal Educational Policies

Marcela Apablaza Santis

Chapter 5 Ethnography and Education Policy. A Critical Analysis of Normalcy and Difference in Schools

Abstract Within the framework of an educational system based on administrative and financial neoliberal principles, this chapter responds to questions related to how educational policies produce and circulate discourses of difference and how such discourses play out in schools. The aim is to problematize Chilean educational policies of inclusion focusing specifically on mechanisms of production, operation, and articulation, as well as the ways educational actors circulate discourses of difference. To do this, I analyze three components: 1) policy documents, 2) the administering body, and 3) the school by unpacking discourses related to the policy of school community life and the inclusion of students with special needs. These discourses are tied to government rationality that develops the problem as a depoliticized matter of identity, linked to the deficit or lack of particular student subjectivities and therein, points to the objectification and management of, and intervention on social and cultural differences in a neoliberalized educational system.