The Politics of Voice in Education

Reforming Schools after Deleuze and Guattari

Eve Mayes

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Maps how the concept of voice has moved and metamorphosed to become a popular educational reform policy priority
  • Highlights the ambivalences of student voice in educational reform
  • Crafts an account of the ontology, ethics and politics of voice in education
  • Brings students’ and educators’ accounts of voice into conversation with historical and contemporary philosophical debates
  • Offers examples of transversal experiments in the politics of education

Engaging with the voices of students and educators and the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Eve Mayes crafts an account of what voice can and must do in education. The book works with the textures, tremors and murmurs of voice felt over ten years of ethnographic and participatory research in Australian schools – from research encounters with students and puppets, to school governance council meetings, to school reform evaluation processes, to students’ political activism. It offers a timely critique of the liberal humanist and late capitalist logics of student voice in educational reform, entwined with an affirmation of other possibilities for transversal pedagogical relations in and beyond institutional sites of education.

Breathing, speaking, writing voices

1. Troubling student voice in school reform

2. Mis/using voices and theories in research with young people

3. Ordering voices and bodies in the history of schooling

4. Representing difference in school governance

5. Understanding the atmos-fear of the dialogical encounter

6. Evaluating the perplexities of school reform

7. Conspiring with the trees



The Politics of Voice in Education is a vibrant and vital engagement with what else student voice can do in ethical-political, participatory research. Each chapter critically explores how the affective force-field of voice can come to matter in and beyond formal schooling, from the perplexities of student activisms to new ontologies of attunement in how schools listen to young people.
EJ Renold, Cardiff University
Eve Mayes is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education at Deakin University, Australia. She currently lives and works on unceded Wadawurrung Country. Her publications and research interests are in the areas of student voice and activism, climate justice education and participatory research. Eve is currently undertaking the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Fellowship (DECRA) project: Striking Voices: Australian school-aged students’ climate justice activism (2022-2025). She has ten years of experience as an English and English as an Additional Language teacher in government secondary schools in Australia.

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