Sarah’s Moment: government and profit in the neoliberal classroom

Public lecture by Professor Stephen J. Ball, Institute of Education, University College London.

The lecture will explore a set of relations – forms of self-management, of government, of profit – that are invested in the use of learning software in school classrooms.

Starting from Sarah, a student in a Los Angeles elementary charter school, the lecture explores an example of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’. I will trace ‘points of contact’, hinges, folds and connections that contribute to the production of Sarah as a particular kind of learner subject, and the re-making of the classroom as a site of learnification.

These connections also bring into play new forms of education policy and new policy actors, and facilitate education reform and the commercialisation of education as a profit opportunity. Sarah’s moment is an intersection between subjectivity and profit, between government and the digital economy – it is a quintessential neoliberal double.


Stephen Ball is Affiliated Professor at Section of Education, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen.

For further information, please contact Trine Øland.