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Staff Profile

Professor Matthew Clarke

Professor of Education

I came to York St John University in 2015 as Chair Professor in Education. Previously, I have taught and researched at UNSW, Australia, the University of Hong Kong, the Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates, and the University of Melbourne, Australia. My undergraduate studies were in Politics and Philosophy (Oxford), after which I moved into Education, in which I hold a PGCE (Primary) from the University of Surrey, as well as, a PGDE (TESOL), M.Ed. and PhD from the University of Melbourne. My research in educational policy, published in leading international journals, is internationally recognised as contributing to a new interdisciplinary field that brings together political and psychoanalytic theory to provide novel and significant critical insights into global policy issues in education and teacher education. I am a co-editor for the Sage journal, Research in Education: Theory, Policy and Practice, and I also serve on the editorial boards for Power and Education and Other Education: A Journal of Educational Alternatives.


I am the program director for the Doctor of Education (EdD) degree and teach into all four of the taught modules in the program. I am also active as a PhD supervisor and I am interested in supervising doctoral students in theses relating to global policy issues in education, teaching and teacher education. I have a strong track record in successful doctoral student supervision and have supervised the following theses to completion:

  • Chew, W. L. (2018). Towards a non-representational abductively-driven research approach: Informed guessing for qualitative research. University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Lo, M. M. (2014). Negotiating and appropriating new literacies in English Language classrooms in Hong Kong primary schools: Economies of knowledge, attention and enjoyment. University of Hong Kong.
  • Tursini, U. (2014). Exploring changes in teachers’ pedagogic habitus: Case studies of English language teacher self-evaluation as a meditational activity. University of New South Wales, Australia.
  • Yang, B. (2013). Language, identity and power in bilingual education: Policy enactment in three bilingual Tibetan school communities in Sichuan, China. University of New South Wales, Australia.
  • Yawiloeng, R. (2013). Self-regulation in EFL writing composition: From private speech to triadic system. University of New South Wales, Australia.
  • Chan, C. (2011). Discourses of collaboration in English language teaching. University of Hong Kong
  • Danjun, Y. (2010). In search of self: Understanding teacher learning in a cross-institutional teacher community. University of Hong Kong.
  • Hennig, B. (2010). Language learning and the self: Exploring Hong Kong students' motivation for learning German as a third language from a Foucauldian ethical perspective. University of Hong Kong.
  • Gu, M. (2007). The discursive construction of English language learners' motivation in China: A multilevel perspective. University of Hong Kong.

I have examined doctoral theses for Manchester Metropolitan University and Chester University, as well as a number of international universities, including Deakin University, Queensland University of Technology, and Victoria University in Australia, the University of Auckland in New Zealand, as well as for the University of Hong Kong.

In addition to PhD supervision, I am the program leader for the YSJ Doctor of Education degree and have taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in a number of universities. I have also taught in primary schools in England and Australia, as well as in intensive English language centres in Australia.


My internationally recognised program of research encompasses education policy studies and teacher education. The program involves a emphasis on the politics of education and focuses on two main interconnected areas: 1) critical analysis of recent global education policy and politics through the lens of psychoanalytic theory and; 2) critical analysis of the depoliticisation of teaching and teacher education. My most significant recent contribution has been to education policy studies, where my innovative use of psychoanalytic theories, including recent cutting-edge work in political theory that draws on psychoanalysis, has enabled me to develop new analytical frameworks with which to study the connections between education policy and politics. The fruit of this new critical approach to education policy studies is evident in my recent publications in leading international and journals such as the Journal of Education Policy, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Cambridge Journal of Education and Critical Studies in Education.



Clarke, M. (2019). Lacan and education policy: The other side of education. London: Bloomsbury.

Clarke, M. & Phelan, A. (2017). Teacher education and the political: The power of negative thinking. London: Routledge.

Gulson, K. N., Clarke, M., & Petersen, E. (Eds.) (2015). Education Policy and Contemporary Theory: Implications for research. London: Routledge.

Lo, M. & Clarke, M., Luk, J. & Chigaeva, S. (2012). Promoting new literacies in Hong Kong schools. Hong Kong: Quality Education Fund.

Clarke, M. (2008). Language teacher identities: Co-constructing discourse and community. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Refereed journal articles

Clarke, M. (2018). Nonmodern education, or, education without qualities: An essay on Robert Musil’s essayism. Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 7(2), 75-87

Clarke, M. (2018). Eyes wide shut: The fantasies and disavowals of education policy. Journal of Education Policy.

Clarke, M. (2018). Education beyond reason and redemption: A detour through the death drive. Pedagogy, Culture and Society. 

Kabgani, S., Zargarian, A., & Clarke, M. (2018). The morbid dance of ideology on the scaffold: On subjectivity and capital punishment in Iran. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society.

Back, S., Clarke, M., & Phelan, A. (2018). Teacher education as the practice of virtue ethics. Editorial for special issue on teacher education and virtue ethics, Research in Education: Theory, Policy and Practice, 100(1), 3-9. 

Yang, H. Z. & Clarke, M. (2018). Spaces of agency within contextual constraints: A case study of teacher’s response to EFL reform in a Chinese university. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education

Clarke, M., Schostak, J., & Hammersley-Fletcher, L. (2018). Rethinking Democracy and Education: Alternatives to capitalist reproduction or Writing the poetry of the future? Editorial for special issue on Democracy and Education, Power and Education, 10(2), 107-111.

Clarke, M. (2018). Democracy and education: In spite of it all. Power and Education, 10(2), 112-124.

Clarke, M. (2017). Education and Democratization: Moving Beyond the Service of Goods to Write the Poetry of the Future. Scottish Educational Review, 49(2), 42-55. 

Hammersley-Fletcher, L., Clarke, M., & McManus, V. (2018). Agonistic democracy and passionate professional development in teacher leaders. Cambridge Journal of Education, 48(5), 591-606.

Clarke, M., Michell, M., & Ellis, N. (2017). Dialectics of development: Teacher identity formation in the interplay of ego ideal and ideal ego. Teaching Education, (28)2, 115-130. 

Clarke, M., & Sheridan, L. (2017). Heroes and villains: The insistence of the imaginary and the novice teacher's need to believe. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 45(2), 194-206 

Moore, A., & Clarke, M. (2016). ‘Cruel optimism’: Teacher attachment to professionalism in an era of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 31(5), 666-677.

Kabjani, S., & Clarke, M. (2016). Fantasy, nostalgia and ideology: A Lacanian reading of post-revolutionary Iran. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society.

Clarke, M., & Phelan, A. (2015). The power of negative thinking in and for teacher education. Power and Education, 7(3), 257-271.

Clarke, M. (2015). Knowledge is power? A Lacanian entanglement with political ideology in education. Critical Studies in Education (Special issue on Poststructural policy analysis), 56(1), 71-85.

Clarke, M. (2014). Dialectics and dilemmas: Psychosocial dimensions of ability grouping policy. Critical Studies in Education, 55(2), 186-200.

Clarke, M. (2014). The sublime objects of education policy: Quality, equity and ideology. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, (35)4, 584-598.

Chan, Y. Y. & Clarke, M. (2014). The politics of collaboration: Discourse, identities and power in a school-university partnership in Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 42(3), 291-304.

Morsy, L., Gulson, K.N., & Clarke, M. (2014). Democracy, ‘sector-blindness,’ and the delegitimation of dissent in neoliberal education policy. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(3), 444-461.

Clarke, M. (2013). Terror/enjoyment: Performativity, resistance and the teacher’s psyche. London Review of Education (Special Issue on the work of Stephen Ball), 11(3), 229-238.

Clarke, M. & Moore, A. (2013). Professional standards, teacher identities and an ethics of singularity. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(4), 487-500.

Clarke, M., & Hennig, B. (2013). Motivation as ethical self-formation. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45(1), 77-90.

Clarke, M. (2012). The other side of education: A Lacanian critique of neoliberal education policy. Other Education 1(1), 46-60.

Clarke, M. (2012). The (absent) politics of neoliberal education policy. Critical Studies in Education, 53(3), 297-310.

Clarke, M. (2012). Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution: The social, political and fantasmatic logics of education policy. Journal of Education Policy. 27(2), 173-191

Tsung, T. H. & Clarke, M. (2010). Dilemmas of identity, language & culture in higher education in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 30(1), 57-69

Clarke, M. (2009). The discursive construction of interpersonal relations in an online community of practice. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(11), 2333-2344.

Clarke, M. (2009). The Ethico-politics of teacher identity. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 41(2), 185-200.

Clarke, M. (2007). English language policy and teacher education in the United Arab Emirates. TESOL Quarterly, 40(3), 583-591.

Clarke, M (2006). Beyond antagonism? The discursive construction of 'new' teachers in the United Arab Emirates. Teaching Education, 17(3), 225-237.

Clarke, M & Otaky, D. (2006). Reflection 'on' and 'in' teacher education in the United Arab Emirates. The International Journal of Educational Development, 26(1), 111-122.


Book chapters

Clarke, M. (2018). The impossibility and indispensability of teacher identity. In Schutz, P., Hong, J. Y., & Cross Francis, D. (Eds.) Research on Teacher Identity and Motivation: Mapping Challenges and Innovations. Dordrecht: Springer.

Clarke, M. (2017). The intimate alterity of identity. In G. Barkhuizen (Ed.), Reflections on Language Teacher Identity Research, (pp. 264-269). New York: Routledge.

Clarke, M. (2015). Lacanian perspectives on policy analysis. In Gulson, K. N., Clarke, M., & Petersen, E. (Eds.) (2015). Education policy and contemporary theory: Implications for research, (pp. 73-83). London: Routledge.

Clarke, M. (2013). A tale of two teachers: Teacher identity and care of the self in an era of accountability. In P. Benson & L. Cooker (Eds) The applied linguistic individual: Sociocultural approaches to autonomy, agency and identity (pp. 164-177). London: Equinox

Morgan, B. & Clarke, M. (2011). Identity in second language education. In E. Hinkel (Ed.) Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning: Vol. 2 (pp. 817-836). New York: Routledge. ISBN: 9780415998710

Clarke, M. & Morgan, B. (2011). Social justice issues in two postcolonial societies: Perspectives from Australia and Canada. In M. Hawkins (Ed.) Social justice in language teacher education (pp. 63-85). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Mason, M. & Clarke, M. (2010). Post-Structuralism and Education. In E. Baker, B. McGaw & P. Peterson (Eds) International encyclopaedia of education, Vol. 6 (3rd Edition) (pp. 175-182). Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0080448930

Clarke, M. (2010). Doing 'identity work' in teacher education: The case of a UAE teacher. In R. Sultana & A. Mazawi (Eds.), World Yearbook of Education 2010: Education and the Arab world: Political projects, struggles and geometries of power (pp. 145-162). New York: Routledge.

Lo, M. & Clarke, M. (2010). Practicing or preaching? The appropriation of new literacies by students and teachers in teacher education. D. Pullen & D. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of research on multiliteracies and technology enhanced education: Social practice and the global classroom (pp. 147-166). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Clarke, M. & Gallagher, K. (2008). Curriculum revitalization: A UAE perspective. In: D. Hayes & J. Sharkey (Eds.), Revitalizing an established program for school age learners through curricular innovation (pp. 11-30). Alexandria, VA: TESOL Publication: Curriculum Development Series, Vol. 4.

Clarke, M. (2007). Teaching identity: the discursive construction of an evolving community of practice. B. Johnson & K. Walls (Eds.) Voice and Vision in Language Teacher Education. Minneapolis: CARLA Publications.

Clarke, M., Hamston, J. & Love, K. (2007). New Teachers on the job: Investigating trajectories of HCT B.Ed. graduates. In: L. Stephenson & P. Davison (Eds.), Teacher education in the United Arab Emirates (pp. 95-106). Dubai: TESOL Arabia SIG Series.

Clarke, M. (2006). Reflective practice as a foundation for action research and professional growth. In: A. Warne (Ed.), Action research in teacher education (pp. 11-20). Abu Dhabi: HCT Press.


Professional Activities

In addition to serving on the editorial boards for two international journals (Power and Education and Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives), I regularly review articles for the Journal of Education Policy, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Critical Studies in Education and the Cambridge Journal of Education, amongst others. I have also been invited by international publishers, including Routledge, Springer and Multilingual Matters, to review book prospectuses and/or completed books. As a member of the international education research community, I have served as an international assessor for research grant proposals for the Chilean Government's National Committee for Scientific and Technical Research since 2012. I have also been a member of the Australian Association for Research in Education since 2009, serving as co-convener for the Politics and Policy in Education Special Interest Group, 2013-2014.

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