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Regulatory Discourses in Education

A Lacanian perspective

Tony Brown, Dennis Atkinson and Janice England

This book employs Lacanian psychoanalysis to develop new ways of understanding educational domains. It analyses events, practices and policies that occur in school classrooms, teacher education and higher-degree studies including educational research. It provides an accessible introduction, description and analysis of those aspects of Lacan’s work concerned with language, identity and subjectivity directly relevant to the field of education.
Regulative discourses and practices in education are a central concern and the authors demonstrate how Lacanian theory empowers our understanding of how such discourses are instrumental in forming teacher and researcher identities. The book also shows how regulatory practices and discourses are relevant to research methodologies that arise in the field of action research in education.


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Part Four Conclusion 241


Part Four Conclusion Chapter Fourteen The Insistence of the Letter: The Portrayal of Self to the Other What the Butler Saw In 2002 Mr. Paul Burrell was acquitted of stealing possessions belonging to the by then deceased Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. The trial collapsed in spectacular fashion after the intervention of the Queen who suddenly recalled that Mr. Burrell, in a private meeting with her, had informed her of his intention to take care of certain possessions. The trauma of the trial resulted in Mr. Burrell writing a book of his experiences, a book that in due course attracted considerable attention in the media. The book, A royal duty, a ‘tribute’ to the princess, was subsequently serialised by the Daily Mirror following a payment, totalling £800,000, to Mr Burrell. Mr Burrell also spent a week promoting the book on American chat shows. Of particular interest was a series of ‘highly personal and confidential’ letters that now found themselves providing intriguing resource material for the book. The letters included one from the princess’s father-in-law describing his views on his son’s affair with another woman, another, an aggressive letter from the princess’s brother discussing the princess’s ‘mental problems’ and further letters from the princess’s own ‘gentlemen friends’. There was also a note in the princess’s own hand apparently predicting her death in a car crash. Each of the letters had experienced an interesting history of concealment from a variety of key individuals as well as the public at...

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