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International Comparisons and Dynamics at the Education Policy Agora

Paper i proceeding
Författare Bernard Schneuwly
Thomas S Popkewitz
Gun-Britt Wärvik
Caroline Runesdotter
Daniel Pettersson
Tine S Prøitz
Sølvi Mausethagen
Rita Foss Lindblad
Sverker Lindblad
Publicerad i EERA. Emerging Researchers' Conference. Copenhagen, August 2017
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik
Språk en
Länkar www.eera-ecer.de/ecer-programmes/co...
Ämnesord international comparisons, education policy, science-society agora
Ämneskategorier Pedagogik, Internationell pedagogik


The seminars working hypothesis has a lot in common with the well-known hypothesis of Lyotard (1984) saying that when society alters so does the status of knowledge. Knowledge can as such be described in terms of a discourse where legitimation of different kinds of knowledge is put in the fore. This discourse of legitimating knowledge is taking place in societal systems (cf. Luhmann, 1996) where knowledge legitimates itself as well as the systems which harboring legitimacy. In this, the society-science interaction is especially important due to that it acknowledges important relations and settings of power. In the seminar, we are elaborating on how a society-science connection is portrayed in the domain of education where we note how educational knowledge and educational policy is constructed and functioning in tandem in ways similar to the Lyotard hypothesis – when educational knowledge alters so does educational policy, and vice versa. This connection is analyzed based on an analytical use of the conceptual space description of agora (Nowotny et al., 2003), where various activities takes place in which educational knowledge and policy is constructed, framed and disseminated in tandem. Based on historical and empirical investigations we state that one prevailing reasoning (Hacking, 1992, Lindblad, Pettersson & Popkewitz, 2015) necessary for educational knowledge and policy in the contemporary is the notion on comparativism where comparisons such as rankings and hierarchizations between educational systems are in focus and not the qualities of education as such. Comparativism implies a reduction of complexity which is required to maintain a system’s power capability. During the last decades, the dissemination and growth of international large-scale assessments (ILSA) represents a reduction of such complexity. The power of new algorithms and technologies for classifying educational systems at the intersection of international actors and national policy and science, is repeatedly expressed in education policy debates. The emergence of this approach to education has been noted in research (Carvalho, 2012; Grek, 2009), mostly with a focus on relations between different actors at work in different layers and in transnational governance (Ozga, 2012; Djelic & Sahlin-Andersson, 2006). However, few studies have investigated the educational activities for providing educational knowledge and how they together provide major contributions of educational knowledge. Based on such notions, the purpose is to describe and analyze comparativism in education in order to critically examine and clarify what claims and educational reasoning that are put forwards as well as implications for educational design and action. We search for answers to the following set of questions: - how to capture and analyze the emergence of a comparativistic turn in educational research and policy; - how to describe the dynamics of an agora in the making of educational knowledge staged in tandem processes in research and policy; - how do international and national settings and agents interact in educational discourses? These problematics will be elaborated on in the seminar with a specific focus on Nordic contexts (Sweden and Norway) in international perspectives. We approach the problematics by especially observe the function of ILSA in the society-science relations and how these are discussed on the agora leading to tandem processes of policy and research. With the contributions in the seminar we are in a position to highlight some of the relations on how educational knowledge is constructed, framed and disseminated as tandem processes in a situation dissolving the dichotomy of society-science by reducing some of its complexity. When doing so we have the opportunity to analyze the intersection between science and society as an important field of education. We will also raise questions on how these kind of knowledge is perceived by media and public.

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