In education, especially over recent years, there has been massive bureaucratic standardization. Mainstream priorities by neo-liberal states have persisted with bureaucratic testing regimes and control over school operations (Waks, 2006). Various authors have argued that we should be on guard against those who have a narrow, positivist approach to education and who reject diverse epistemologies and methodologies in education (St Pierre, 2002; Waks, 2006) The term ‘postmodern’ is used frequently – it has unleashed a wide range of

divergences within education, especially against grand narratives of ‘modernity’ and modernist education. Jean-François Lyotard’s (1984) widely used definition of postmodernism is very telling – ‘I define postmodernism as incredulity toward metanarratives’ (p. 3). ‘Postmodern’ has been interpreted in many ways but before it is analysed

here it is necessary to examine what is being replaced – what is the ‘modern’ which is to be relegated to a previous era or replaced? Is postmodernism really after modernism? Is the notion of defining periods (as ‘modern’, ‘postmodern’) merely a rhetorical device – a means of comparing the present to something different (Newall, 2005)?