Publication Details

This article was originally published as Percy, A, A new age in higher education or just a little bit of history repeating? : linking the past present and future of ALL in Australia, Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 5(2), 2011, 131-144. Copyright Association for Academic Language and Learning 2011. Original journal article available here


For those relatively new to the field of Academic Language and Learning, the ‘new’ social inclusion agenda may appear as the dawning of a new age in higher education—a revolutionary moment in history where the qualitative transformation of teaching and learning feels imminent. For others, it may feel like ‘a little bit of history repeating’. This paper critically examines the limitations of the agency of ALL in ‘forging new directions’ by considering how the past haunts the present. Using the lens of governmentality (Foucault, 1991; Rose, 1999; Dean, 1999), the paper makes the claim that, given that ALL is deeply embedded in the social regulation of conduct in the academy, new directions emerge, not so much from the wisdom of ALL, but from the constellation of historical circumstance, political reasoning, and social, economic and institutional exigencies that reconfigure the university as an apparatus of government, reconstitute the student as an object of government, and position the ALL practitioner in particular ways at particular times to do particular work. This paper provides a framework for making sense of our institutional intelligibility and considering future directions through this lens.


130103 Higher Education