Between the state and the street: Habermas and education governance

Murphy, M. (2022) Between the state and the street: Habermas and education governance. In: Murphy, M. (ed.) Social Theory and Education Research: Understanding Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu and Derrida. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, pp. 126-140. ISBN 9780367742010 (doi: 10.4324/9781003156550-10)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


A substantial amount of research evidence has been gathered regarding the pathologies of accountability, but less attention has been paid to the reasons why such pathologies occur in the first place. The chapter addresses this issue by exploring accountability in the context of Habermas’ theory of lifeworld colonisation. The chapter explores the value of the colonisation thesis to modern day issues associated with the ‘regulatory state’, that form of state governance with surveillance and enforcement strategies at its core. It takes seriously the contribution that Habermas can make to the field of education administration – a contribution that can position the field in its broader context of democratic governance. At the same time, it is accepted that there are limitations of the colonisation thesis as an explanatory device, with the chapter arguing that not all the consequences of accountability can be considered illustrative of a damaged communicative intersubjectivity. Specifically, the chapter turns to the concept of street-level bureaucracy for further refinement of Habermas’ ideas around governance.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Murphy, Dr Mark
Authors: Murphy, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Published Online:31 March 2022

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record