A Tale of Two Tragedies

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Journal Article
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The School of Education at Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa New Zealand.

A multiple-fatality outdoor education event in New Zealand in 2008 revealed that a ‘systems approach’ towards managing risks and training staff, was widely considered to be normal and ‘best practice’. This approach champions audit trails and economic efficiency, and one of its characteristics is the volume of paperwork required. One of the unacknowledged repercussions of this approach is a compartmentalization of knowledge and responsibility. But best practice was not always like this. A Foucauldian discourse analysis was employed to understand how best practice has changed and what the roots of those changes were. Disconcertingly, the ‘systems approach’ continues to dominate outdoor education organisations, and the conditions that appeared to play a part in the tragedy of 2008 are still considered ‘normal’.

Risk; Neo-liberalism; Foucauldian discourse analysis
Teachers’ Work, 12(2), 101-114. https://doi.org/10.24135/teacherswork.v12i2.176
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Final manuscripts are published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 4.0). This licence allows anyone, including the author, to share, copy, distribute, transmit, adapt and make commercial use of the work without needing additional permission, provided appropriate attribution is made to the original author or source.