Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools

Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools

Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools

Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools


The first volume to focus on the intersections of militarization, corporations, and education, Education as Enforcementexposed the many ways schooling has become the means through which the expansion of global corporate power are enforced. Since publication of the first edition, these trends have increased to disturbing levels as a result of the extensive militarization of civil society, the implosion of the neoconservative movement, and the financial meltdown that radically called into question the basic assumptions undergirding neoliberal ideology. An understanding of the enforcement of these corporate economic imperatives remains imperative to a critical discussion of related militarized trends in schools, whether through accountability and standards, school security, or other discipline based reforms.

Education as Enforcementelaborates upon the central arguments of the first edition and updates readers on how recent events have reinforced their continued original relevance. In addition to substantive updates to several original chapters, this second edition includes a new foreword by Henry Giroux, a new introduction, and four new chapters that reveal the most contemporary expressions of the militarization and corporatization of education. New topics covered in this collection include zero-tolerance, foreign and second language instruction in the post-9/11 context, the rise of single-sex classrooms, and the intersection of the militarization and corporatization of schools under the Obama administration.


Henry A. Giroux

Hannah Arendt once wrote that

Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough
to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from ruin. … [It
is also] where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel
them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from
their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen
by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common

Arendt recognized that education was an important site of struggle, but she never could have anticipated that it would, instead, become an institution for punishing those very young people whose fate, if not the fate of democracy itself, it was once willing to assume responsibility for. Nor could she have imagined how a creeping militarization and pedagogy of punishment would eventually permeate all aspects of daily life, especially public education.

In a society that has increasingly separated economics from ethics and allows the market to drive politics, it is not surprising that with the destruction of the social state the only political model left for shaping society largely comes from the merging of corporations and prisons. As the social contract is annihilated through the growing commodification and militarization of American society, those institutions that were once designated as central to reproducing civic values, the public good, and democracy itself are now seen as the weak link in the emergence of a new kind of sovereignty in which the logic of privatization is coupled with the heavy hand of a state that increasingly trades in punishment, surveillance, control, and containment. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the transformation of the public school into a breeding ground for producing consumers, on the one hand, and for imposing harsh disciplinary practices on those students marginalized by race and class, on the other. In this instance, the school as a public good has been transformed into either a training ground for a consumer society or a pipeline for channeling disposable populations into the grim confines of the criminal justice system. The principal premise behind Education as Enforcement is not that schools have been transformed simply into an adjunct of the corporations or that they are increasingly treated as a private good, but that they are subject to a new kind of militarizing logic in which the elements of surveillance, control, containment, and . . .

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