Chris's Reviews > Struggling for the Soul: The Politics of Schooling and the Construction of the Teacher

Struggling for the Soul by Thomas S. Popkewitz
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Feb 12, 13


Popkewitz applies the theories of Michel Foucault to understand how TFA conceives of teachers and teaching and concludes that TFA views itself as being on a salvation mission of rescuing children classified as "the other" from its "otherness." In other words, white middle class norms are used to frame urban, low-income students as being deficient and in need of remediation. This, he argues, leads to a sense of failure on the part of TFA corps members he interviews, as they generally interpret their motives as benevolent and are frustrated to find students resistant to their ministrations. Even though this book is now more than ten years old, I appreciated his application of a Foucauldian notion of "governmentality" to schooling and agreed with many of his conclusions. Unfortunately, he deliberately offers no easy resolution of how to change our approach to urban education. His job, in his words, is to help us see what we didn't see before and how our notions of education reform are actually just resurrecting age-old theological notions of salvation and damnation. Total bummer.
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