Rationality, Governmentality, Natio(norm)ality? Shaping Social Science, Scientific Objects, and the Invisible


  • Bernadette Baker


The discipline of education in Anglophone-dominant contexts has always grappled with a kind of status anxiety relative to other disciplines. This is in part due to the ways in which evidence has been thought about in the theoretico-experimental sciences relative to the ethico-redemptive ones. By examining that which was considered to fall to the side of science, even of social science, this paper complexifies contemporary debates over educational science and research, including debates over evidence-based education or assumed divisions between the quantitative/qualitative and empirical/conceptual. It reapproaches historical vagaries in discourses of vision that underscore the arbitrariness of approaches to social scientific research and its objects. A less-considered set of spatializations and regionalisms in social scientific conceptions of rationality especially are exposed through a close reading of the Harvard University philosopher William James' more marginalized texts.

Author Biography

Bernadette Baker

Adam earned his doctorate at the University of Cincinnati, masters at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and bachelor’s degree at Berea College. He is currently an Associate Professor of Education at Colby College. For the past five years, he also has held a position on the national faculty of Lesley University Graduate School of Education. Before his current position he taught at Antioch College for seven years, where he held the positions of Director of Teacher Education, Associate Professor of Education, and Associate Dean of Faculty. Prior to teaching at the college level, he taught high school English and history and directed a non-profit organization designed to provide academic support to disadvantaged middle school students while encouraging high school and college students to consider a teaching career path. Adam has published numerous articles and papers on social class issues in education, privilege, service-learning, and curriculum theory. He is author of Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling. He is co-editor (with Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández) of Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage.