Journal of philosophy of education vol:39 issue:1 pages:51-65
The increasing emphasis on participation in education offers the starting point for this paper. Participation appears to be a strategic notion in a particular problematisation of education: this is installed through certain ways of speaking and writing (discourse) and through certain procedures, instruments and techniques that are proposed and developed in different places and spaces (technology). Participation is thereby claimed to empower individuals and to emancipate the child or the student from dominant regimes of power, including liberating them from oppressive traditional educational practices. Foucault's concept of governmentality, which offers us a specific understanding of power, helps us to analyse the discourse and technology of participation in a different way: participation comes to be seen not as an increase in freedom and empowerment, but as an element in a particular mode of government or power. According to this analysis the plea for practices of participation appears as an interpellation or call, governing the way that people act and behave, and encouraging them to think of themselves in a very specific way. We characterise this in terms of immunisation.