Child-rearing practices and expert identities: A tale of two interventions

Educational Philosophy and Theory 40 (6):747-757 (2008)
Abstract
Paul Smeyers' keynote address to the PESA 2007 Conference, 'The Entrepreneurial Self and Informal Education: On government intervention and the discourse of experts' provides a timely call for questioning the governing of the family. This paper draws upon Smeyers' key concerns to explore both historical and contemporary trends in clustering government agencies, under the guidance of child development experts. The guidance of two expert groups is problematised, with particular attention to an absence of commitment to Māori perspectives of education and child-rearing. Such an absence reflects, in New Zealand, a dangerous undermining of the historic treaty between the British and Māori. The paper then challenges, with brief reference to Jacques Derrida's discussions on autobiography and Freud's Legacy, the identity of expert groups advocating early intervention in the lives of families measured as a burden on economic and social progress. The paper posits that perhaps it is the developmental expert that requires some form of early intervention.
Keywords New Zealand  Treaty of Waitangi  Early intervention  inter‐agency  expert  Māori  family
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