The adventure of the deceitful numbers

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3 Scopus citations


This article addresses access to high-quality education under a neoliberal mentality. It engages at both the discursive and material levels, by mapping how taken-for-granted truths about neoliberal policies circulate through the media. The media - newspapers, network channels, and news websites - have correlated quality education with socioeconomic status, which have effects of power in the fabrication of the productive citizen and low-performer, and in the perpetuation of the "class/room". The unexpected deceitfulness of numbers operates as a rhizomatic regime of truths, conducting our ways of being and acting in the world. This analysis takes numbers as an actor to challenge the apparent representative and descriptive nature of standardized assessment outcomes, and the idea that competition, freedom of choice, and accountability are a means of securing equity, inclusion, and economic growth. The novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, particularly those featuring the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, and the Sherlock Holmes adaptations portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV series "Sherlock" have inspired the narrative of this story. Sherlock's mind palace - a feature added to Holmes' personality in the TV series - is put to great use in the narrative of this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pedagogy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • class/room
  • freedom of choice
  • governmentality
  • inequality
  • neoliberalism
  • rhizome


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