23 SES 05 B, Globalization, Europeanization and Education (Part 3)
Paper Session: contined from 23 SES 03 B, 23 SES 04 B
This paper develops the theorisation of the field of symbolic control (Bernstein, 1990, 2001). It explores the activity of education administrators in Greece as one important category of agents within this field through which the dominant governance discourse is recontextualized, instituting new forms of practice.
Governance discourse has been much discussed in Education through work which explores its sociological dimensions and dynamics (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010, Lawn & Grek, 2012). Thus “governing by data” (Ozga, 2009) and “knowledge-based regulation tools” (Pons & Van Zanten, 2007, Rinne & Ozga, 2013) are linked both to changes in regulation processes in general and to new forms of knowledge circulation among the different actors involved in the policy process . These “soft governance” mechanisms (Lawn, 2006, Rambla, 2012) impel education actors to function according to prescribed modes of thinking and acting.
Such insights facilitate critical theoretical and empirical explorations of the ways in which the globalization (and Europeanization) of educational policy is transforming the field of symbolic control: those agencies and agents specializing in dominant discursive codes which, within a given society, shape legitimate ways of thinking, relating and feeling (Bernstein, 2001). Symbolic control is “the means whereby consciousness is given specialized form and distributed through forms of communication which relay a given distribution of power and dominant cultural categories”. It “translates power relations into discourse and discourse into power relations” (Bernstein, 1990:134), but it can also transform existing power relations.
Robertson (2011, 2013) describes transformations in the field of symbolic control and the denationalization of education policy space, utilizing the notions of boundary, bordering and ordering, theorized through the Bernsteinian concepts of power and control relations. She points out that globalization is enacted in multi-scaled contexts, through numerous micro-processes which inter alia reconfigure territorially and functionally the national scale along different spatial levels, destabilising the meanings and claims that the actors and institutions of a sector are able to make.
Global governing technologies are manifestations of deep transformations in the field of symbolic control, shifting sovereignty and authority away from the national agencies to global actors (Robertson, 2013). The latter dominate the field of symbolic control reframing and reclassifying practices, agencies and discourses, becoming key players in the reconstitution of the relationships between the Official Recontextualizing Field and the Pedagogic Recontextualizing Field (Bernstein, 1990); with potentially major consequences for knowledge and for professionals’ pedagogical practices and identities.
We maintain that education and symbolic control are sites of globalizing processes and struggle, whereby institutions are induced to reorient their policy work; while global organizations are challenged about their expertise and their own authority (Robertson, 2013, Sassen, 2013). Discursive forms are therefore crucial means for exploring reordering processes and the politics of borders (Robertson, 2011, Foucault, 1978).
Education administration constitutes a privileged field for critical work on the aforementioned transformations. The policies recently implemented in Greece in this field raise issues regarding power relations as well as the content of knowledge. The educational reform programme of the 2009 government and subsequent legislative measures have created new conditions for the selection, retraining and evaluation of professionals in education administration (Sifakakis et al., 2013). Education administration professionals are considered as important agents in implementing the new policies for modernizing the Greek school system, aligning it to the EU objectives. Mid-level agents are crucial for policy diffusion and consolidation, that is for recontextualizing dominant ideas and discourses (Singh et al., 2013). In this paper we study the daily exercise of administrative work seeking to understand how the principles of social and symbolic order are acquired through pedagogical processes, reproducing or transforming power relations.
Bernstein, B. (1990). Class, Codes and Control, Volume IV. The structuring of Pedagogic Discourse, London: Routledge. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Theory, research, critique, revised edition, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Bernstein, B. (2001). Symbolic control: Issues of empirical description of agencies and agents, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4(1):21-33. Foucault, M. (1978). The History of Sexuality. Vol. I. An Introduction, (Transl. R. Hurley), New York: Pantheon Books. Burchell, G., Gordon, C. & Miller, P. (Eds) (1991). The Foucault Effect, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lawn, M. (2006). Soft governance and the learning spaces of Europe, Comparative European Politics, 4(2-3):272-288. Lawn, M. & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing Education: governing a new policy space, Oxford: Symposium Books. Lemke, T. (2001). ‘The birth of bio-politics’: Michel Foucault’s lecture at the College de France on neo-liberal governmentality, Economy and Society, 30(2):190-207. Ozga, J. (2009). Governing education through data in England: from regulation to self-evaluation, Journal of Education Policy, 24(2):149-162. Pons, X. & Van Zanten, A. (2007). KNOWandPOL project, http://knowandpol.eu/IMG/pdf/lr.tr.pons_vanzanten.eng.pdf. (retrieved:30-09-2013) Rambla, X. (2012). “Soft power”, educational governance and political consensus in Brazil, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 22(3):191-212. Rinne, R. & Ozga, J. (2013). The OECD and the Global Re-Regulation of Teachers’ Work: Knowledge-Based Regulation Tools and Teachers in Finland and England, in T. Seddon & J. Levin (eds) Educators, professionalism and politics. Global transitions, national spaces and professional projects, World Year Book of Education 2013. London: Routledge. Rizvi, F. & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing Education Policy, London & New York: Routledge Robertson, S.L. (2011). The new spatial politics of (re)bordering and (re)ordering the state-education-citizen relation, International Review of Education, 57:277–297. Robertson, S.L. (2013). Teachers’ Work, Denationalisation and Transformations in the Field of Symbolic Control, in T. Seddon & J. Levin (eds) Educators, professionalism and politics. Global transitions, national spaces and professional projects, World Year Book of Education 2013. London: Routledge. Sassen, S. (2013). When the Global Arises from Inside the National, in T. Seddon & J. Levin (eds). Sifakakis, P., Sarakinioti, A., Kourou, M. & Tsatsaroni, A. (2013). Professional knowledge and Performative technologies: Exploring changes in educational leadership in Greece, Paper presented at ECER13, Istanbul. Singh , P., Thomas, S. & Harris, J. (2013). Recontextualising policy discourses: a Bernsteinian perspective on policy interpretation, translation, enactment, Journal of Education Policy, DOI:10.1080/02680939.2013.770554
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