Free 1 Day Conference

Foucault and Education: retrospect and prospect

29 January 2014, ICOSS, University of Sheffield

Conveners: Ansgar Allen & Wilfred Carr; Keynotes: Erica Burman & Stephen Ball

Hosted, sponsored and funded by the international journal Pedagogy, Culture and Society and The School of Education.

Foucault and Education

Call for Papers

This conference is free to delegates and places will be limited. Students and early career researchers are particularly welcome to attend and present papers, alongside more established academics.

Our call for papers is Friday 20 September 2013. To submit an abstract, complete a Presentation Form.

You can also contact us to book a place at the conference by completing a Booking Form.

Abstracts and booking requests should be sent to Lindsey Farnsworth at:

If you would like to discuss a presentation, please contact Ansgar Allen at:


This conference will critically review the extended impact of Michel Foucault on educational research. Educational researchers have made frequent use of Foucault’s ideas, concepts and perspectives. The common assumption that Foucault ‘would have something to say’ or that the Foucauldian perspective must have something to offer, has brought Foucault into the educational canon. This conference will examine the costs of this widespread adoption, for Foucault, his ethos, and for educational research.

Those ‘faithful’ to a Foucauldian ethos may, indeed, sense these dangers most acutely. This conference will ask whether those committed to a spirit of critique that retains its value only to the extent that it remains marginal, able to upset convention, common sense, and popular perception, might wish to reconsider their allegiances. Now that Foucault has become a mainstream educational theorist, is it finally time to Forget Foucault?


This conference will debate the continued relevance of Foucault. It will review educational work that takes Foucault as its point of departure addressing questions such as:

  • How have Foucault’s ideas been used?
  • What explains Foucault’s ‘success’ in the field of education?
  • Why has his work been so influential?
  • What effects has it had?
  • What does it mean to be faithful to Foucault?
  • Should we be faithful to the Foucauldian canon?
  • Is Foucault still relevant in the 21st century?


The conference will be divided into two parts. Each part will begin with a short keynote presentation. These presentations will be followed by individual discussion papers, where each paper will consist of a 15-20 minute presentation followed by 15-20 minutes for discussion. The day will end with a panel discussion responding to the themes that have emerged throughout the day. Lunch and refreshments will be provided free of charge.


    Retrospect: Foucault and Education

    Keynote: Professor Stephen Ball, Institute of Education, University of London.


    Prospect: Foucault in the 21st Century

    Keynote: Professor Erica Burman, School of Education, University of Manchester.

Special Issue

Conference delegates will be invited to submit papers to a special issue of the international journal, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, provisionally titled ‘Foucault and Education: retrospect and prospect’, edited by Ansgar Allen and Wilfred Carr.

This conference is hosted by The School of Education and is funded by the international journal Pedagogy, Culture and Society. It is affiliated to the Centre for the Study of Educational Development and Professional Lives at the University of Sheffield School of Education.