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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Schooling and Political Form: New Learning and the Quest for Social Discipline

Dr John Martino.

New Learning can be described as the newest form of social democratic curriculum reform and may be located on a continuum of Australian educational reform beginning in the 1980s aimed at aligning schooling more closely to the interests of the globalisation project of the liberal-capitalist state.

Under current conditions the relationship between schools and the society around them has been strengthened, schools can no longer claim to inhabit a space which is distinct or separate from the society as a whole. This process can be described as the politicisation of schooling, or more accurately the penetration of market forces into the very fabric of the institution of schooling. Globalising liberal-capitalism requires a highly skilled and motivated work force for its economic base, hence schools and the economy are now intimately linked. Education appears as just one more form of commodity under advanced capitalism, and as a means with which to produce a workforce which is able to compete in an information rich global economy. In this paper I argue that education in general has been placed more firmly than at any other stage at the disposal of global economic interests and has become more fully integrated into the economic and political agendas of the globalising liberal-capitalist state. In particular I argue that New Learning whilst imbued with the rhetoric of empowerment and democratisation is in fact the newest educational tool in the process of social disciplining and political domination.


Dr John Martino  (Australia)
Lecturer in Multiliteracies
School of Education
Victoria University

John Martino has worked in education as a teacher & researcher for 18 years his interests include new learning, School reform students at risk, alternative education, vocational education and training, information technology across the curriculum.

  • New learning
  • Social discipline
  • Political form
  • Capitalism

(30 min Conference Paper, English)