28 SES 05 A, Knowledge Production Among Institutions, Actors and Communities in Education Policy
The submission puts forward a sociological investigation (with a Luhmannian orientation) of the relationship between knowledge and policy in Europe. It does so by exploring large EU funded research projects in social science and their role in policy-making. The development of large EU research projects that gather diverse academics and researchers over a significant period of time is a relatively new phenomenon. Precisely what is new is not the fact of collaboration as such: it is rather the fact that collaboration is increasingly being incentivized (funded) and governed (controlled), through policy programs, funding agencies and so on (Papatsiba 2013). This evolution has resulted in a double outcome. Whilst the governing of research becomes apparent through the emergence of stringent policy-related expectations attached to such projects, the financial incentives have triggered the rise of new forms of organizations: large, international, temporary organisations.
In the literature, one finds several attempts to find out whether such collaborative research is more or less productive than solo research. Mauthner and Doucet argue that the social science community has been rather “unreflexive and uncritical in its adoption of team-based research models and practices”. According to them there is “an unspoken assumption that team research is ‘better’ than solo research” (Mauthner & Doucet 2008: 972). Our argument in this submission is that the question one should ask, is not whether such or such form of research organization is more or less productive, better or worse than another. One should rather wonder how a given form of research organization works and responds to its external conditions of possibility. That is, how scientific research handles the expectations raised by its political environment through policy-makers and the like. We are thus particularly interested in the inside and the outside of large EU funded research projects, which implies understanding the interaction between their internal functioning and the external (policy) demands they are supposed to respond to.
Collaborative research is one of the several forms in which the contemporary relationship between science and policy becomes apparent. As all other forms (think tanks, government-led study centres, advisory boards, ad hoc expertise, etc.), it rests however on the same, more general expectation that the best criteria for sound political decision-making are best distilled from scientific knowledge. This expectation conforms strongly to the self-descriptions of the political world, but often much less so to the sociological reality of its decision-making process. In this submission we look both (1) at EU funded collaborative research and (2) at how policy-making deals with the knowledge-intensive environment that it helps create.
Selective bibliography (not cited in the submission due to lack of space) Biesta G. (2007), Why ‘‘What Works’’ Won’t Work: Evidence-Based Practice and the Democratic Deficit in Educational Research, Educational Theory, 57 (1), 1-22. Boffey, P. M. (1975). The brain bank of America : an inquiry into the politics of science. New York: McGraw-Hill. Carvalho L.M. (2011) Look at the mirror! On the cognitive and normative features of a knowledge-policy tool, in J. Kush (ed.) Knowledge, Differences, and Harmonies in the Time of Globalization, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Esposito, E. (1996). Observing objects and programming objects. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 13(3), pp. 251–260. Grek, S. (2009) Governing by numbers: the PISA effect, Journal of Education Policy, 24(1): 23-37. Hilgers M. and Mangez E. (2014) Introduction to Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Fields in Higers M. and E Mangez, Bourdieu's Theory of Social Fields: Concepts and Applications, Routledge Advances in Sociology. Katz, J. S., & Martin, B. R. (1997). What is research collaboration?. Research policy, 26(1), 1-18. Luhmann, N. (1990). Political theory in the welfare state. Berlin: de Gruyter. Luhmann, N. (2012). Theory of society: Volume 1. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Luhmann, N. (2013). Theory of society: Volume 2. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Mangez, E. and Hilgers, M. (2012) The field of knowledge and the policy field in education: PISA and the production of knowledge for policy, European Educational Research Journal, 11 (2): 189-205. Mauthner, N. S., & Doucet, A. (2008). Knowledge Once Divided Can Be Hard to Put Together Again'. An Epistemological Critique of Collaborative and Team-Based Research Practices. Sociology, 42(5), 971-985. Neumann E., Kiss A., Fejes I. (2012) The Hard Work of Interpretation: the national politics of PISA reception in Hungary and Romania, European Educational Research Journal, 11(2), 227-242. Ozga J. (2013) Acts of construction. The conditions of collaboration. A response to Vassilika Papatsiba. Policy Futures in education, 11 (4), 453-455. Papatsiba V. (2013) The Idea of Collaboration in the Academy: its epistemic and social potentials and risks for knowledge generation, Policy Futures in Education, 11(4), 436-448. Solesbury W. (2001). “Evidence-based policy: whence it came and where it’s going” ESRC, Centre for Evidence-based Policy and Practice (Working Paper 1). Available via: http//www.evidencenetwork.org.uk Wasser, J. D., & Bresler, L. (1996). Working in the interpretive zone: Conceptualizing collaboration in qualitative research teams. Educational researcher, 25(5), 5-15.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
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