Schooling Teachers: Professionalism or disciplinary power?

Terri Bourke*, John Lidstone, Mary Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Since public schooling was introduced in the nineteenth century, teachers in many western countries have endeavoured to achieve professional recognition. For a short period in the latter part of the twentieth century, professionalism was seen as a discourse of resistance or the ‘enemy’ of economic rationalism and performativity. However, more recently, governments have responded by ‘colonizing’ professionalism and imposing ‘standards’ whereby the concept is redefined. In this study, we analyse transcripts of interviews with 20 Queensland teachers and conclude that teachers’ notions of professionalism in this second decade of the twenty-first century are effectively reiterations of nineteenth century disciplinary technologies (as proposed by Michel Foucault) yet are enacted in new ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-100
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • disciplinary power
  • professionalism
  • teachers
  • Foucault


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