This thesis examines narratives of the future and their impact on late-modern constructions of the self.
The argument is made that neo-liberal narratives have effectively promoted an idealised narrative of the self that views the achievement of a desired future for individuals as primarily a function of personal autonomy, effort and intention.
The thesis contends that this narrative is promoted in society through multiple trajectories involving an array of social forms and institutions. Education policy and media are considered as exemplary examples of the sorts of social forms and institutions where this idealising narrative is promoted. A limited range of education policy narratives and media narratives are then examined.
The position is taken that the adoption of neo-liberal ideals of the self relies on a supporting context of other narratives of the self and society. These are explored.
A governmental framework (Rose, 1998) is used to consider the implications for child and adult subjects of the adoption of an individualised culpability for future success, or lack of success within what is argued is a subjectifying discursive regime of the self. Resistance to this governing regime is considered from a number of theoretical perspectives. The contention is made that effective resistance is likely to be local, partial and continuous rather than involving or resembling a disjunctive ideological shift.
The thesis engages with post-structuralist ideas and hence is written from a perspective that necessarily incorporates a local and personal narrative.