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'Ukraine's Education Policy under a Foucauldian Gaze'

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr R E Finnin.

The seminar will report the findings of a recently completed study ‘Educational Policy-Making in Post-Communist Ukraine: Policies, Subjectivities, Rationalities, Power – A Foucauldian Perspective’, which can be accessed here: http://ulmss-newton.lib.cam.ac.uk/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=33647.

The discussion will offer a reflective account of a ‘Westernised post-communist intellectual’, who critically assesses her successes and struggles in establishing herself as a social science researcher in Western academia. Reflecting on her various (sometimes conflicting and sometimes, in a paradoxical way, complementary) identities, the presenter will explain how her personal oscillation between and dissatisfaction with two systems of thought and patterns of socialisation was translated into her research agenda and theoretical/methodological standpoint. Committed to a non-Euro/Americo-centric approach to research, the presenter advocates a poststructuralist perspective as a more powerful explanatory tool, which better accounts for the emerging hybridities, uncertainties, and oscillations that increasingly characterise everything that used to be covered by the term “Soviet”: countries, societies, identities, and— of particular relevance to the problematic raised in this paper—intellectuals. The presenter will conclude by problematising predominant “Western” analytical knowledge traditions, and calling for a new form of political engagement, ethics, and critique as these were once envisaged by Foucault.

The seminar will encourage the participants to reflect upon their own positioning in (Western) academia and their interest in the Ukrainian studies theme. The participants are advised to consult this and other papers by the presenter in order to ensure a lively and engaging discussion.

Recommended readings:

Fimyar, O. (2011a). A Manifesto of a Postcommunist, Poststructuralist Researcher. European Education, 43(2), 74-97.

Silova, I. (2010). Re-Discovering Post-Socialism in Comparative Education. In I. Silova (Ed.), Post-Socialism Is Not Dead: (Re)reading the Global in Comparative Education (pp. 1-20). Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Peters, M. A., & Besley, T. (Eds.). (2007). Why Foucault?: New Directions in Educational Research.(Chapter 1) New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Further readings:

Fimyar, O. (2008a). Using Governmentality as a Conceptual Tool in Education Policy Research. Educate~The Journal of Doctoral Research in Education, (Kaleidoscope Special Issue March 2008), 3-18.

Fimyar, O. (2008b). Educational Policy-Making in Post-Communist Ukraine as an Example of Emerging Governmentality: Discourse Analysis of Curriculum Choice and Assessment Policy Documents (1999–2003). Journal of Education Policy, 23(6), 571-593.

Fimyar, O. (2010). Policy Why(s): Policy Rationalities and the Changing Logic of Education Reform in Post-Communist Ukraine. In I. Silova (Ed.), Post-Socialism Is Not Dead: (Re)reading the Global in Comparative Education (pp. 61-92). Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Rose, N., & Miller, P. (2008). Governing the Present: Administering Economic, Social and Personal Life. (Chapter 8) Polity Press.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Lecture Series series.

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