Soft openings: the psycho-technological expertise of third sector curriculum reform

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Since the late 1990s the ?third sector? has become active in generating new curriculum programmes in England. Based on tracing third sector participation in public education during the New Labour years, the article explores a documentary archive of third sector curriculum texts and argues that the programmes, strategies and techniques of the third sector have sought to pursue a new form of governmentality. The type of governmentality pursued by the third sector takes form as a ?soft? style of curriculum reform derived from assembling together cybernetic and psychological forms of expertise, interactionist and constructivist pedagogies, and an emerging ?psycho-technology? of subjectivity. The third sector fabricates reform proposals for a curriculum of the future in which governance is done by cross-sectoral networking, epistemological categories are blurred, and student subjectivities are made up to be malleable, soft-skilled and psychologically self-shaping. The article examines how third sector texts have assembled this new psycho-technological expertise of curriculum reform through both cybernetic and psychological styles of thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-237
Number of pages21
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


  • curriculum reform
  • curriculum theory
  • third sector
  • governmentality
  • pedagogic identity


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