Terms of Endurance

Resilience, Grit, and the Cultural Politics of Neoliberal Education


  • Graham B. Slater Independent Scholar




grit, resillience, critical theory, cultural politics of education, neoliberalism, educational reform


This paper critiques the role of resilience and grit in neoliberal education. Both concepts have become popular within research, policy, practice, and public discourse about education. Proponents claim that the concepts affirm and support the ability of marginalized youth to succeed in schools and society. However, resilience and grit minimize the impact of structural inequality and social domination on oppressed youth in schools, obscuring the necessity of collective struggle in order to achieve educational liberation. Resilience and grit function as what the author calls the “terms of endurance” in neoliberal education because they individualize and depoliticize educational problems and practice. Against the affirmation of durative language in the cultural politics of education, the author calls for critical educators to insist instead on a transformative approach.

Author Biography

Graham B. Slater, Independent Scholar

Graham B. Slater is an independent scholar based in Reno, Nevada (USA). He studies the relationship between critical theory, ecology, culture, and the politics of education. His recent work appears in Cultural Studies; Educational Philosophy and TheoryPolicy Futures in EducationEducational Studies; and Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. He co-edited Educational Commons in Theory and Practice: Global Pedagogy and Politics (2017) with Alexander J. Means and Derek R. Ford.