Testing Resistance: Busno‐cratic power, standardized tests, and care of the self

Educational Philosophy and Theory 37 (3):357–363 (2005)
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Abstract

I will argue in what follows, following the insights of James Marshall on busno‐cratic power, that resistance to this new power is already well underway, and that this resistance is potentially problematic and potentially transgressive 1 . The self is not only a chooser in busno‐cratic land, it is also re‐commodifying itself and in so doing, beginning to struggle at the limits of its commodified situation. I will argue that commodified selves, as much as they are constrained, are also potent sites for resistance. Part of that resistance is being waged in the terrain of the high stakes test, where the self that could ‘choose’ runs headlong into a product that definitively limits its range of choice. In order to engage critically with this resistance, I examine the cracks in the monolithic power of testing, cracks that point to the uncertainty of numbers and the ambivalent anxieties of test takers

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