ABSTRACT. This article is based on a Foucaultian genealogical approach to a problem of the present. In this case the “problem” is that current official aims for education are inadequate to the needs of students in a rapidly changing world. I discuss briefly the location of educational aims in their historical contexts (to establish that the historical context affects the aims of education), and then focus particularly on the two major theoretical streams of neo-liberalism: “Public Choice Theory” and “Human Capital Theory” and the ways in which they influence contemporary educational aims, in New Zealand as elsewhere in the “Western” world. As recent political developments suggest that neo-liberalism, as a political program, may be losing its popular appeal, I ask what the aims of education might be when both forms of neo-liberal thought have been discredited, and new forms of thought appropriate to a post-neo-liberal world might be developed. pp. 96–107

Keywords: educational aims; post-neoliberal; public choice theory; human capital theory; New Zealand context


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