Academic journal article Educational Research for Social Change

Phantasmagoria: Communicating an Illusion of Entrepreneurship in South African School Textbooks

Academic journal article Educational Research for Social Change

Phantasmagoria: Communicating an Illusion of Entrepreneurship in South African School Textbooks

Article excerpt

Introduction

Phantasmagoria is the outcome of a process that employs deceptive techniques, both through textual manipulation and semiotic selections, to create an illusion about a phenomenon. In this instance, the focus of this paper is the illusion of entrepreneurship as phantasm that is presented in school textbooks. There is little contention that school textbooks continue to be an important and indispensable resource for both teachers and learners in South African schools. Although the process of content cleansing continues to unfold, as evidenced by the aims of the 2016 Ministerial Committee's mandate to develop a textbook policy aimed at addressing diversity and ridding South African textbooks of prejudicial content, there is still a dearth of knowledge as to the ideological subtexts of textbooks in the economic sciences internationally (Ferguson, Collison, Power, & Stevenson, 2009), and the new generation South African school economic sciences textbooks in particular.

Economic and management sciences (EMS) is a uniquely South African fabrication designed to serve a particular agenda, namely to enable learners to understand the wealth creation process and develop entrepreneurial dispositions (Department of Basic Education, 2011, pp. 8-11). EMS textbooks (the programmatic curriculum) were subsequently designed to meet these official curriculum objectives. Of significance for this paper is the ideological obfuscation (Zizek, 2011) that masks the curriculum's and the nation's relatively new romance with neoconservative-neoliberal economic discourses (Harvey, 2007), and how this is given effect in school textbooks. Fairclough (2003, 2009) reminded us that discourse is constitutive, having the power to shape constructions of reality. Through a process of systematic analysis, using critical discourse analysis (CDA) techniques, this paper attempts to illuminate how powerful ideologies are maintained and reinforced via the textbook- with a view to contemplating ways to disrupt this, and ways to engender social change.

Discourse and ideology have been a focus of repeated investigation in CDA (see Fairclough, 2009, 2011; Knain, 2001; MacLure, 2003; Mautner, 2008; Reisigl & Wodak, 2009; van Dijk, 2009, 2011; Wodak & Krzyzanowski, 2008). Ideology has its origins in the early 1800s in the work of Destutt de Tracy, but has generally been linked to Karl Marx (as cited in Machin & Mayr, 2012). Ideology, according to Marx and Engels, denotes the body of intellectual thoughts used to support the economic domination and subjugation of particular classes (as cited in Machin & Mayr, 2012). It refers to a systematic schema of ideas and discursive orientations about the functioning of society. Ideology operates first at an institutional level-that is, school or family-and then at the level of consciousness, thus making schools powerful ideological apparatuses given the presumed neutrality and naturalness of school education (Althusser, 2008). Ideology may also be viewed as a subtle yet powerful mechanism for the systematic cognitive distortion and manipulation of subjects' constructions of how society should be understood, thus serving a legitimising function for the maintenance of relations of power (Beaton, 2007). Note, though, that ideologies may also be used in resistance and struggle politics, as in anti-racist, anti-xenophobic, or anti-sexist ideologies where sociopolitical circumstances may well engender liberating ideologies (van Dijk, 2011).

Current sociopolitical circumstances in South Africa may well manifest in representations of entrepreneurship in school textbooks that are likely to serve particular agendas, the revelation of which is not always obvious to the ordinary teacher (Maistry & Pillay, 2014). Critical linguistics skills (using critical discourse analysis) are essential if individuals (teachers and learners) wish to unearth the subtext of school textbooks. The aim of this article therefore is to illuminate both constituted ideology and constitutive ideology at work in the selected texts. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.