The radical right is having a moment. A wave of right-wing populist movements predicated on nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and the delegitimization of leftist politics are making political gains across the globe. Education, Crisis, and the Discipline of the Conjuncture employs conjunctural analysis to explore the rise of a radical right politics in the United States as a social phenomenon bound up with a series of crises at work in the contemporary social formation and to think through the implications of this analysis for educational scholars, activists, and practitioners committed to the realization of a more democratic and justice world. Education, Crisis, and the Discipline of the Conjuncture constructs a history of the present through conjunctural analysis and builds on this inquiry to construct a model for critical educational scholarship and pedagogical practice that can contribute to the urgent political demands of this historical moment.
Scott Ellison is associate professor of social foundations of education at the University of Northern Iowa.
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Economic Crisis
Chapter Three: Political Crisis
Chapter Four: Cultural Crisis
Chapter Five: The Neoliberal Political Project
Chapter Six: A Problem-Space
Chapter Seven: Inquiry and Scholarship
Chapter Eight: Pedagogical Practice
Chapter Nine: Concluding Remarks
Ellison opens with a question: how should people understand the recent rise of right-wing populism? From this simple query follows a complex, unabashedly leftist, interdisciplinary analysis of the present political moment. Ostensibly for teachers and scholars in the field of education, this dense, wide-ranging volume is steeped in both Gramscian/Marxian political theory and the cultural studies tradition of Stuart Hall and his Birmingham colleagues. Ellison argues that multiple crises—economic, political, and cultural—combine in a neoliberal political project that undermines its own stability while paradoxically trying to restore hegemonic structure. [A]s a work of theory, it offers an impressive model of interdisciplinary thought and its possible use for pedagogy. Recommended. Faculty.
Scott Ellison offers a fresh use of cultural studies inquiry in Education, Crisis, and the Discipline of the Conjuncture that will be of interest to many in the field of education and beyond.
It’s a brave tackling of a complex task, written during dangerous political times, and it is an invitation for others to contribute to this effort. He’s not claiming to offer the best story of the current rise of right-wing populism, just a better story that captures more of the complexity of this crisis. Ellison richly shows conjunctions across the three domains of economics, politics, and popular culture, and offers an historical synthesis as well as draws out important educational implications. While his focus for the “radical right moment” is with the US, he situates national trends within a global framework, making important international connections and discussing diverse scholarly works that are beyond the US.
This book constitutes a valuable resource for teaching, developing research programs, education activism, and for all those seeking to dissolve neoliberalism. It offers educators, students and education activists critical hope for a reckoning with right-wing populism and its constituting forces – the neoliberal political project, neoclassical economics, modern conservatism and cyber-utopianism – for a future where social progress, democracy and social justice attain increasing reality. Ellison has given us an important book for the current historical conjuncture.