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Reading and Teaching Ivor Goodson


Yvonne Downs

Ivor Goodson is an immense and vital contributor to the study of education and to educational research. His influence extends across continents, taking in theory and practice, and including topics as diverse as curriculum history and the history of school subjects; change management and reform; teachers’ lives and careers; professional and learning identities; narrative and educational policy and life politics. To all this he brings a coherence born of his convictions and his commitment to social justice. This book traces the contours of his morally inflected approach to scholarship, highlighting its contribution to a politics of transformation, all the while acknowledging and encapsulating the practical, passionate, principled humanity that continues to drive Goodson’s scholarship.
This book will be of interest to students and teachers of education, to teachers and educational researchers, as well as to those with a passion for the history and politics of education.
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Chapter 2. Holding On



Chapter 2

Holding On

I have never thought there would have been another way to live my life in terms of my original loyalties. That doesn’t mean that I am bigoted about more privileged groups—I am happy to interact with other groups, but my questions always are when these new initiatives come in: How will they work with the groups of people who are my people, my tribe? What does it mean for my tribe? I guess I love the people I came from. I have never met better people. So, I should speak for them.

(Goodson, 2011, p. 3)

It is no exaggeration to say that the concept of holding on is synonymous with Ivor’s modus operandi. In his own words, he works in a “modality of holding on.” In one respect this is a fairly straightforward concept articulating the way in which certain beliefs and values, formed early in his life, have continued to inform and shape his scholarly concerns. They inform his theoretical perspectives and intellectual and hence life projects to the extent that we might conceive of this as life/work, and they guide (or even direct) their orientation. “Holding on,” like so much in Ivor’s scholarship, is therefore an artless expression of an intricate and powerful idea.

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