23 SES 05 B, Globalization, Europeanization and Education (Part 3)
Paper Session: contined from 23 SES 03 B, 23 SES 04 B
This paper builds on two previous pieces of research (Gillies, 2010, 2011) which had explored the significance of quality management discourse within European state policy and the influence of Human Capital Theory within education policy discourse across Europe.
This new study, which is a work in progress, explores the stated aims of education within European state policy. It examines legislation and other policy documents from 23 different jurisdictions across Europe1as well as three different Länder in Germany2. The project is an exercise in deductive discourse analysis unlike the previous studies which had been inductive. These earlier studies had pre-set a bank, as it were, of indicative discursive indicators of the discourses in question (Quality management, and Human Capital Theory) and then explored the selected texts for evidence of these markers. The current study is more deductively positioned in that the selected texts are first explored for what is said about the aims of (state) education before the data is then coded and categorised.
The study is motivated by a number of issues which form some framing hypotheses. The first of these is the likelihood of policy being shaped by current neoliberal ideology so that the aims of school will have a weighting towards and/or an alignment with market principles, a focus on the individual, and an emphasis on economic purposes. The second, related, hypothesis is that the aims of schooling will indicate a movement away from, or a dilution of, liberal humanist values. The third hypothesis is to do with globalization, policy convergence and policy borrowing. The study anticipates that there will be evidence of convergence but is also interested in the concept of vernacular globalization (Lingard, 2000; Winter 2012) and how individual states maintain a form of national identity within policy discourse (Olsen, Codd & O’Neill, 2004).
The project is shaped by the work of several theorists. Situated within the broad framework of Foucauldian critique, the study is structured by the analytical guidelines for critical discourse analysis developed by Siegfried Jäger (2001). In addition, the paper also makes use of the linguistic ideas of Walter Benjamin (1916), and the notion of ‘being’ presented in language. In particular, Benjamin’s theory is adapted so that the idea of ‘educational being’ is explored as a means of conceptualising policy statements. This is two-sided: ‘educational being’ presents itself in relation to how school education is presented and projected in language and also, the sort of educational ‘beings’ it purports to develop or create – an educational imaginary as it were. Thus, using Benjamin in this instance can aid examining how educational being is communicated in language; how policy documents serve to ‘name’ education in a specific way, and so seek to create a form of ‘being’.
The project is also guided in relation to the discourse analysis of public policy by the work of Woodside-Jiron (2004) and her fusing of the work of Fairclough and Bernstein. While public policy at the macro level in this instance can be viewed as ‘regulative discourse’ (Bernstein, 1996), the study anticipates that the working out of this in terms of policy enactment – not the focus of this study – could well be understood in terms of the ‘pedagogic device’ that links regulative with instructional discourse. How policy of this sort impacts on practice is not the subject of this study but it accepts that Bernstein’s concepts may well be fruitful in understanding that relationship.
Notes 1. The different national jurisdictions covered are: Austria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; England; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Iceland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Northern Ireland; Norway; Portugal; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Wales. 2. The three Länder are: Bavaria; Berlin; Lower Saxony. References Benjamin, W. (1979) . On language as such and on the language of man. In W. Benjamin, One way street and other writings (pp.107-123). London: New Left Books. Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, symbolic control, and identity. Oxford: Taylor & Francis. Edelman, M. (1964) The symbolic uses of politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Faiclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity. Gillies, D. (2011). State education as high-yield investment: Human Capital Theory in European policy discourse. Journal of Pedagogy, 2(2), 224-245. Gillies, D. (2010). Economic goals, Quality discourse, and the narrowing of European state education. Education, Knowledge & Economy, 4(2), 103–118. Jäger, S. (2001). Discourse and knowledge: theoretical and methodological aspects of a critical discourse and dispositive analysis. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis (pp. 32–62). London: Sage. Lingard, B. 2000. It is and it isn’t: Vernacular globalization, educational policy and restructuring. In N. Burbules & C. Torres (Eds.), Globalization and education: Critical perspectives (pp. 79–108). London: Routledge. Winter, C. (2012) School curriculum, globalisation and the constitution of policy problems and solutions. Journal of Education Policy, 27(3), 295-314, DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2011.609911 Woodside-Jiron, H. (2004). Making sense of public policy. In R. Rogers (Ed.), An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education (pp. 173-205). Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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