The post-truth tyrannies of an evidence-based hegemony
Keywords:post-truth, education policy, evidence-based practice, hegemony
A trend towards evidence-based practice has developed in policy and practice in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia in recent years, evolving to become a powerful hegemonic force. This paper considers this latest impetus to teach according to the mandates of a narrow evidence base as a symptom of the post-truth condition, one that elevates a limited body of evidence to an infallible position. Drawing on interviews with practicing teachers and critical discourse analysis of policy texts, this paper explores the homogenizing effects of a tyrannical evidence-based movement, using Antonio Gramsci’s (1971) writing on the relationship between consent, coercion, and the maintenance of cultural hegemony. This paper argues that the contemporary policy landscape obtains consent from teachers to accept its claims through a coercive paradigm built from a powerful set of hegemonic discourses, such as “what works” and “evidence-based.” These discourses, this paper suggests, need to be considered within the current post-truth context, where the dismissal of research claims is akin to scientific skepticism; a dynamic that places teachers in an impossible bind where the evidence underpinning policy is protected by a paradigm that makes it difficult to question.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Stephanie Claire Wescott
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