Educator, RESEARCHER, author

Commodification, commensuration, and conformity in the schoolhouse: Realities of educational reforms and possibilities for resistance


The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education 

Special Theme Issue

Guest Editors: T. Jameson Brewer (University of North Georgia)

and Wm. Gregory Harman (Lewis Clark State College)

This special issue of SoJo is dedicated to engaging questions about the ways
in which historical and contemporary education structures (pedagogy, policy,
curriculum, institutions, etc.) have reimagined or reinforced students, teachers,
and/or learning as: 

  • a commodity - objectified for uses other than their own;
  • requiring commensuration - defined here as conversion to metrics for
    comparison (Espeland & Stevens, 1998), 
  • demanding conformity among all key stakeholders.  

Given the focus and scope of SoJo, we are especially interested in articles that

will explore these questions and realities from a social justice, social foundations, and activism perspective.  We are interested in a variety of proposals/papers that seek to explore one or more of the following topics:

  • The objectification of students, teachers, schools, and learning as an artifact of dehumanization and/or for profit,
  • How commodification impacts the profession of teaching writ large,
  • How neoliberal ideas of global competition translate into the cult of metrics,
  • Likewise, how the cult of metrics seeks to quantify the human condition and educative processes,
  • The atomization of curriculum and “skills-based” learning,
  • Leveraging marketing and business-oriented language (e.g., skills, 21st century learning, technology, etc.),
  • Scientific management (historically and in contemporary settings),
  • How the strict demands for standardization, testing, and reforms manifest into behavioristic/militaristic control of students and surveillance, 
  • Other related topics.

While we are interested in proposals seeking to explore these topics in the current Trump/DeVos era, we acknowledge that Trump and DeVos have found policy bedfellows in their Democratic rivals and proposals should explicate such realities.  We are interested in proposals that will not only explicate the realities of decades of educational reforms that have sought to damage public education and marginalized students, we are especially interested in proposals that will explore areas and possibilities for resistance.  Let us challenge destructive assumptions and paradigms in ways that are meaningful in terms of application to the genuine arenas of and possibilities for change.


Espeland, W. N., & Stevens, M. L. (1998). Commensuration as a social process. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 313-343. 

General Timeline:
Proposals Due: April 15
Accept/Reject Proposals: April 22
Draft Articles Due: June 22
Feedback to Authors: June 28
Final Articles Due: July 19
Publication early Fall 2019 (subject to SOJO schedule)

Proposal Format: Please send a 500-750 word proposal, excluding references, for review in a word document to by April 15, 2019.  

This proposal should indicate the aim of the research study or, if it is a conceptual/theoretical paper, specific methodological approaches, key findings, and an overview of the argument. Please also include how the manuscript directly addresses the call. 

Authors should also submit a reference list that includes key references that will be utilized in the manuscript. 

Please also submit all relevant contact information (author name(s), institutional affiliation, and email).

To have your manuscript considered for publication, please submit a proposal by April 15, 2019 (11:59pm EST) to and/or with the subject line, “SoJo Special Issue.”