Scarring thoughts: Harry Potter and the neoliberal education reforms

Amanda Heffernan, Tara Brabazon, Troy Heffernan

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This paper probes the resonances between neoliberal education reforms and the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This interdisciplinary research project aligns thesociologies of literature and education to reveal how the neoliberal reforms found within the Global Education Reform Movement [GERM] manifest within popular culture, and how popular culture naturalizes, frames and patrols particular modes of discourse about school, teaching and learning. This paper creates a discursive dance between neoliberal theories of educational reform and the popular cultural educational reforms in Harry Potter. This paper demonstrates that the Harry Potter series provides ways of understanding the impact of these education reforms on teachers, students, and the everyday workings of a school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-49
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


  • neoliberal education
  • education reforms
  • Harry Potter
  • Global Education Reform Movement (GERM)
  • popular culture
  • sociology of literature


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