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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 3. The Public Intellectual

Public Engagement, Research Impact, and Value for Money


Chapter 3

The Public Intellectual

When public services are being reconceptualised and reconstructed in helpful and broadly supportive ways by sympathetic politicians, the educational researcher as public intellectual emerges from the shadows.

(Goodson, 1999, p. 281)

Although it is a seemingly simple and straightforward term, the expression public intellectual resonates with the dynamics of what amounts to Ivor’s mission. To understand what this term embodies is therefore to understand what he has been about for all these years. A core and pivotal concept in reading Ivor Goodson, it might also be understood as the touchstone and lynchpin of his work and the lodestar of his life. Ivor allies it to Gramsci’s idea of the “organic intellectual.” Its meaning has developed over the years, assuming various incarnations and being enacted in different ways. He also augments the concept to include the idea of traveling, of coming to understanding in the context of globalization and the revolution in communication wrought by digital technologies. It is therefore quite a task to summarize what it means and it makes more sense not to treat what follows as a definitive statement, although it does serve as a prismatic lens through which to read later chapters.

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