Professor Michael A. Peters

Michael Peters


Qualifications: BA (Hons) Well Dip T Chch MA (Hons) PhD Auck Hon D. Litt. SUNY, US, Hon Doctorate, Aalborg, Denmark, FNZAH Hon FRSNZ

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Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Peters, Prof Michael 7841 mpeters TW.G.12 Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educat

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About Michael

Research Profile for Prof Michael A. Peters

After completing my PhD on Wittgenstein at Auckland University in 1984 I worked on a series of evaluation projects on the Official Information Act 1981 and on the introduction of oral Maori in NZ schools (Te Reo o Te Taitokerau), before taking a position at the University of Canterbury, where I had previously majored in Philosophy of Science for a BSc. At Canterbury I worked on political economy of education under neoliberalism. I was invited to return to Auckland University in 1992 and headed up Cultural & Policy Studies in Education, an academic group that included a strong Maori research agenda, sociology and critical philosophy of education based on critical social theory and evaluations of educational policy. I was appointed to a Personal Chair at Auckland in 2000 and held this position together with that of Research Professor at the University of Glasgow (2000-05) where I continued working on a combination of education and critical philosophy. I accepted an invitation as Excellence Hire Professor at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) (2005-2011) and returned to NZ to take up my current position at the University of Waikato.

My research interests have focused on educational philosophy (in particular, the philosophy of the subject) with an interest in political economy of knowledge and education (production, consumption and distribution). My first published paper was on Louis Althusser and 'knowledge as production.' The deepest influences upon my thinking and writing include both Wittgenstein and Foucault. These two philosophers, from very different traditions, proposed a radical critique of the traditional liberal notion of sovereign subject that is transparent to itself as the foundation of action, knowledge and ethics. The consideration of these philosophers in relation to one another opens a critical space of reflection of their work and the critique of psychologism especially the myths of 'mental processes,'  interiority and private minds in terms of public language, discourse and practice. Wittgenstein and Foucault in their different ways provide a diagnosis to contemporary nihilism and a positive philosophical to the fragmentation of the subject, value and the dissolution of culture. I have published on this theme with books on Wittgenstein, Lyotard, Foucault, Derrida, Rorty, Heidegger, Nietzsche, as well as on related themes in the political economy of knowledge and higher education. I recently edited Wittgenstein & Education: Pedagogical Investigations (2017) and Wittgenstein's Education: 'A Picture Held Us Captive' (2018) (both with Jeff Stickney). Current projects include work on distributed knowledge, learning and publishing systems,  ‘open education,’ peer production and collective intelligence. I also edited The Idea of the University: A Reader (2018) and The Idea of the University: Contemporary Perspectives (2018) (both with Ron Barnett), and coauthored The Digital University: A Manifesto and Dialogue (2018) (with Petar Jandric). I am currently working on three related Springer Encyclopedias of Educational Philosophy and Theory (2017-18), Teacher Education (2018) and Educational Innovation (2019).

I am the executive editor of the SSCI journal, Educational Philosophy and Theory (Routledge, 14 issues per year) for 20 years, the flagship journal of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA) and I am the founding editor of Policy Futures in Education, E-Learning and Digital Media, and Knowledge Cultures. In 2016 I established The Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy and The Editors’ Collective (NZ), that I established to develop an experimental and innovative culture for academic publishing and collective writing, especially for emerging Australasian scholars.

Recent Publications

  • Peters, M. A., & Mika, C. (Eds.) (2017). The Dilemma of Western Philosophy. Routledge.

  • Peters, M. A., & Stickney, J. (Eds.) (2017). A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education Pedagogical Investigations. Springer.

  • Peters, M. A., & Jandric, P. (2017). The digital university: A dialogue and manifesto. Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

  • Peters, M. A. (2017). Disciplinary technologies and the school in the epcoh of digital reason: Revisiting discipline and punish after 40 years. Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, 9(1), 28-46. Retrieved from Open Access version:

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