Inclusion & Education

Featured Book Publication: Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development: Exploring Time, Mediation and Collectivity in Contemporary Schools. London & New York: Routledge.

Kontopodis Book Exhibit

Summary: In most Western developed countries, adult life is increasingly organized on the basis of short-term work contracts and reduced social security funds. In this context it seems that producing efficient job-seekers and accountable employees becomes the main aim of educational programs for the next generation. Through case studies of young people from urban and countryside marginalized populations in Germany, USA and Brazil this book investigates emerging educational practices and takes a critical stance towards what can be seen as neoliberal educational politics. The book studies the marginalized students’ personal dramas as reflecting broader socio-economic and ethical-political contradictions. It investigates how mediating devices such as CVs, school reports, school files, photos and narratives shape the ways in which those marginalized students reflect about their past as well as imagine their future. By building on process philosophy and time theory, post- structuralism as well as on Vygotsky’s psychological theory, the analysis differentiates between two discrete modes of human development: development of concrete skills (potential development) and development of new societal relations (virtual development, which is at the same time individual and collective). The book outlines thus an innovative relational account on learning and human development which can prove of particular importance for the education of marginalized students in nowadays’ globalized world.

Book Introduction (open access): Neoliberalism, Pedagogy, Human Development – Intro

Book review I in Power and Education, 7(3), 370-371, by Matthew Connolly available HERE

Book review II in Outlines: Critical Practice Studies15(3) by Jacob Klitmøller available HERE

Book Review III (in French) in Cahiers de psychologie et éducation (Université de Neuchâtel), 50, pp.15-20 by Fabienne Gfeller available HERE

Reply: Vygotsky, Neoliberalism & Post-structuralism: Reflecting on Three Reviews of My Book “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy & Human Development” also published as:

Kontopodis, M. (2016). Vygotsky, Neoliberalism and Post- structuralism: A Response to Jacob Klitmøller and Two Further Reviews of my Book “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development”. Outlines: Critical Practice Studies, 17, 1 129-134, open access:

Videos/ films – additional teaching materials:

For Chapter 3: Freedom Writers, California, 1994 – 1998: 

For Chapter 4: Doing Collective Pasts and Futures: Pedagogia da Terra in the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement in BrazilEthnographic Movie: Landless Children – Sem Terrinha, Landless Workers’ Movement – MST, Espirito Santo, Brazil 2010 (15.14 min)

Review quotes: 

“In this ambitious and provocative book, Michalis Kontopodis explores how temporal dimensions of development are enacted through culturally mediated social practices, highlighting the links between memory, imagination and collaboration. By drawing on everyday lives of marginalized students variously positioned within their unique cultures yet subjected to the abiding power of neoliberal educational regimes, this approach breaks with the tradition that assumes a position of a neutral observer. In its activist critical stance that interrogates political contexts of human development, the book exemplifies a novel and much needed trend in socio-cultural studies that itself helps to enact new possibilities for the future.” – Anna Stetsenko, City University of New York.

“Excellent book which moves brilliantly from the analysis of local schools and concrete student cases to a timely discussion of global educational politics and dynamics”. – Christoph Wulf, Free University Berlin, Editor of Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft

“Trained both in educational psychology and in anthropology, the author provides fantastic information about German, US and Brazilian educational projects while exploring students’ personal dramas and developmental trajectories. The analysis sheds new light on existing Vygotskian scholarship and interpretation and opens new paths in the education of urban and rural marginalized populations.” – Erineu Foerste, Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil.