Caught between worlds of expertise: Elementary teachers amidst official curriculum development processes in Cyprus
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Against the background of a curriculum change in the Republic of Cyprus, this study focuses on teachers who volunteered to work along with academics and ministry officials in subject-area curriculum review committees to develop official curriculum texts. Teachers’ participation in these committees was construed in official rhetoric as a means to acknowledge teacher/classroom expertise, and, by extension, to democratize the curriculum change process. Analysis of teacher interviews indicates, however, that this process was replete with negotiations among people with differentially valued knowledge and expertise: academic expertise, classroom experience and expertise, and a combination of those that produced a hybrid expert-subject. To unpack these negotiations and thus discuss the politics of teacher participation in collaborative partnerships, we utilize the Foucauldian notions of subjectivation, subjection, and resistance, and suggest that (1) teachers were constituted as subjects and were subjected to institutional(ized) power relations that produced and were produced by particular constructions of knowledge/expertise, and (2) teacher participation was further complicated by possibilities for resistance and openings for the destabilization of those institutionalized hierarchical relations. The latter points towards the ongoing politics of teacher participation in curriculum change and of professionalism as a “permanent provocation”.