Neoliberalism as political rationality

A call for heretics

Authored by: Øivind Varkøy

The Routledge Handbook to Sociology of Music Education

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138586369
eBook ISBN: 9780429504631
Adobe ISBN:


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In the field of music education, influences of neoliberalism is quite often discussed, for instance when it comes to the low status of the subject of music, and the general educational focus on assessment. In this philosophical-sociological text, neoliberalism is discussed as a political rationality, related to the hegemony of instrumental reason – as we find this way of thinking both in technical and ritual rationalities characterising our cultural situation (including for example justification of music education). It is argued that music as a subject in general education in times of neoliberalism (as political rationality) is caught between technical rationality on the one hand, and ritual arguments within the field of music education itself on the other, both characterized by the hegemony of instrumental reason. In this situation, we need heretics opposing the culture of neoliberal consensus and representing a heretical consciousness.

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