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Abstract

Student voice: authentic or contrived? In this essay I argue that authenticity in student voice has been largely conflated with a notion of objective truth. I trouble this view for the ways in which it masks power dynamics in student voice in a quest for truth. Instead I proffer a view of student voice as socially constructed through discourses that act as regimes of truth to open up but also discipline and constrain possibilities for action and identity within student voice initiatives. I ‘plug in’ this ‘student voice as regimes of truth’ concept to think with data from a recent collaborative action research project and turn a critically reflexive gaze on the influences dominant discourses of student voice exerted on the practice of participating students and teachers. I argue that this socially constructed view of authenticity offers a generative starting point to open up more socially just possibilities for student voice practice in the middle years.