Loughborough University
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The New Right and physical education: a critical analysis

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posted on 2010-10-21, 10:17 authored by William L. Kay
My thesis argues that the New Right (NR) sought to manipulate state education as a mechanism of both social transformation and social control in the UK between 1979 and 1992. This is investigated by employing a 'critical realist' perspective which is located within a wider 'neo-Marxist' conceptual frame. The links between the NR and the Radical Right (RR) Conservative governments during this period are investigated through an analysis of the origins, intentions and ascendancy of NR ideology. It is suggested that the NIRIRR's political intent was a 'hegemonic project' to shift underlying moral values from 'social democracy' to the 'social market'. This depended on the successful transmission, through education, of a definition of 'citizenship' grounded in competitive, 'selfish individualism', with the inequalities of the 'social market' accepted as 'common-sense'. My data reveal how the NRJRR conjoined symbolic and material rules and resources to draw power and authority to 'the centre' on the grounds that there was a crisis in national stability and security. Education is identified as a central mechanism in the NR!RR's 'hegemonic project'. It is shown how the RR gained control of the form, content and method of educational provision through a series of initiatives which gradually altered the structure of education and shifted provision progressively from the periphery to the centre, centralising control over curriculum and resources while devolving responsibility and accountability to schools. The argument central to my thesis is that the NR/RR sought to use physical education as a pivotal component of its 'hegemonic project'. This is revealed most clearly in the privileging of the definition of physical education as 'sport and games' in NRJRR discourse. This discourse sought to imbue pupils with values of competition, tradition, reward, meritocracy and individual responsibility: the moral values central to the 'social market'. My data outline how the NRLRR endeavoured to 'control' the 'form', 'structure', 'content' and 'methods' of physical education provision in state schools by delineating the discursive framework and text of the national curriculum physical education (NCPE), and raise critical issues relating to the relationship between policy, power and autonomy within the education system.



  • Social Sciences


  • Politics and International Studies


© William Lawrence Kay

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en

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    International Relations, Politics and History Theses


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