Date of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Type




First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Saltman


Since the start of Renaissance 2010, an initiative that is in the final stages of privatizing one-fifth of its over 600 schools, Chicago's public schools have undergone a massive transformation. The problem driving this inquiry is the opacity of the language and meaning of democracy and democratic principles within the context of the recent push for school privatization in Chicago. Using a framework of discourse analysis, I target the specific discursive formation in which democrary slips into a marketized version of itself in relation to Chicago's school privatization efforts. Through an analysis of scholarly articles, news media, and organizational literature web sites, four major themes became apparent. The push for Chicago to survive and succeed as a global city is heavily dependent on the capitalist and neoliberal practices which inhibit democratic action and participation, and education is appropriated in the effort to veil the logic of the free market as the will of the people. This work engages the slippages inherent to the term democracy and questions the ways in which we can build an oppositional logic to that of the market democracy driving the transformation of Chicago's public schools.

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