Agential Schooling

“Where Dreams Come To Die”


  • Thomas Albright Georgia State University


This piece, a posthumanist analysis of schooling, agential schooling, puts forward a complex accounting of schooling that decenters the human acknowledging those agents – schooling discourses, clipboards, policies, handouts, etc. – that often go unacknowledged in purely humanist framings. This shifts away from dualism and linearity to repositioning educational phenomena as entanglements of multiplicities, situatedness (e.g., politics, power, material flows, etc.), becomings, and the more-than-human world. This work positions schooling as an agent rather than solely as an outcome or effect. Ethnographic entanglements, interviews, and diffraction, were mobilized to better understand the intra-actions between human, nonhuman, and discursive agents. A diffractive analysis of two phenomenon: (1) youth reproducing hierarchical schooling, and (2) the intra-action between school administration, clipboards, and classroom observations demonstrate how various apparatuses – policy, curriculum, hierarchical relations, adultism, prescriptive entanglements, discipline, and punishment – support the violence of agential schooling. Schooling, an agent, influences our ways of knowing and being.