Care of the Self in a Context of Accountability

From Section:
Theories & Approaches
Oct. 28, 2008

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 110 Number 10, 2008, p. 2224-2244


This article is a part of a larger philosophical and empirical project by the author and collaborators to understand the ways in which high-stakes accountability policy fosters normalizing educational practices and concomitant resistance by educators and students.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study

In this article, the author explores how Michel Foucault’s notion of the “care of the self” might provide a conceptual basis for resistance to the normalizing practices and disciplinary power associated with high-stakes accountability and resulting educational practices.

Research Design

The author employs a philosophical analysis of key concepts associated with normalization, the care of the self, the educated self, and high-stakes accountability. The article is presented as a philosophical argument.


The author suggests that to shift attention from limited notions of the self toward expansive and creative possibilities for constituting the self requires clarity on what it means by the educated self in a context of accountability. It also necessitates a new professional ethics characterized by critical reflection and intersubjective engagement.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Accountability | Education practice | Education theories | Self concept