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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 6. Curriculum

Auto/biography and Personal Life Politics


Chapter 6


You have to decide early in life whose side you’re on. And given my own history, it has always remained obvious to me that I would remain on the side of the group I came from.

(Goodson, 2011, p. 3)

There have been few, if any, aspects of curriculum that Ivor has not interrogated, unpacked, reenergized, and reconceptualized: curriculum history (Goodson, 1984, 1985, 1990a); curriculum policy and reform (1989, 1990b); the history and significance of school subjects and subject knowledge (1981, 1983, 1987, 1991b, 1992a, 1992b; Goodson, Anstead & Mangan, 1998); methodological issues (1980–1981, 1990c, 2009a); international perspectives on curriculum (1988); and even its etymology (1995, 1997c). Although Ivor’s preoccupation with curriculum predates it, the publication of School Subjects and Curriculum Change in 1983 (based on his doctoral research) can be said to mark the beginning of Ivor’s scholarly involvement with it. In this book he posited school subjects not as monolithic entities enshrining Knowledge, but as social constructions that reflected, and were the means of achieving, the aspirations of external structuring forces and the institutional responses to those. But this work, which is even now still in publication, was not just significant in its own right. Its impact extends far beyond its own singular contribution, serving as the catalyst and impetus for other works that aimed to study curriculum as a site of social contestation and distribution from a socio-historical perspective ( Particularly significant here is a...

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