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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses what might appear to be disparate themes: evaluation as ranking; ongoing colonial processes that in order to maintain their force are dependent on an internalization of hierarchies of who counts as human; and structures of formal schooling as processes of subjectification that produce docile, obedient subjects. The intention is to generate “thoughts of the outside” by taking seriously the rejection of evaluation practices and associated priorities of authorized schooling by young people pursuing music learning in “abject spaces.” These young people, often labeled as “at risk” within the school system, not only reject the label but also reject the role of schooling in preparing them to become part of dominant social, political, and economic structures that they experience as hostile and oppressive. By exploring the fault lines made visible by looking from the outside at existing dominant educational frameworks, the chapter seeks to highlight structural relations of power that are not as easily seen from within dominant locations. Specifically, it illustrates how the large amount of mental space taken up with the discipline of ranking can constrain imaginative possibilities, leave learners with a potential lack of resilience when notions of the self are tied to external validation, keep them focused on obedience to existing systems, and keep them engrossed in individual accomplishments and therefore less likely to notice contradictions between claimed conditions of equality and actual material conditions for differently situated populations.

Keywords: music education, resilience, evaluation as ranking, Michel Foucault, resistance, population management

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