23 SES 11 D, Still an Issue? Approaching and Challenging Post-Socialist and Post-Authoritarian Education: Difficulties, Routines and Innovations of Empirical Research
For more than two decades, scholars from different disciplines have been tracing the metamorphoses of educational policies and practices in post-socialist and post-authoritarian spaces. In producing their studies, these authors have constructed post-socialist places as something really existing and in ‘need of a fix’, generously offered by World Bank experts, international consultants, policy ‘entrepreneurs’ and academics. Many of these studies are based on an implicit idea of the relevancy of post-socialist and post-authoritarian path dependencies for education. The overreliance on path dependency framework for explaining educational developments in different kinds of post-authoritarian and post-socialist states and societies gave rise to a critique calling for alternative methodologies and explanatory frameworks. Do ‘post-socialist and post-authoritarian educational spaces’ invite a comparative approach or a single case methodology? Should a nation-state (or a withering of the nation-state as globalization and Europeanization theories contend), a market, or a network (as in a family, tribe or community) be a starting point for analysis? – are some of the questions articulated in the field.
Despite some valuable insights, mainstream discussions rarely include the views of the actors and authors who actually inhabit ‘post-socialist educational spaces’. Because of the language and other material and symbolic barriers, the West/East border in the field of research and academic debate remains closed and rarely cross-referenced.
The proposed symposium focuses on empirical approaches in researching and inhabiting ‘post-authoritarian and post-socialist educational spaces,’ challenging the tradition of speaking within the disciplinary, language and academic (East/West) borders.
The presentations aim to reflect on possibilities, problems, challenges, routines and non-reflected grand narratives of post-socialist and post-authoritarian educational research. Some of the questions to be explored are:
- Does post-socialism and post-authoritarianism still play a role in the conceptualisation and routine of empirical research on education?
- Which ‘classical’ trends can we observe in research on education within post-socialist and post-authoritarian spaces?
- How do the processes of globalisation, neoliberal expansion, European integration, etc. influence empirical research approaches?
- Which disciplines are occupied with the research on post-authoritarian and post-socialist spaces?
- Which empirical instruments have been developed in order to approach post-authoritarian and post-socialist education? What methodological debates are influencing research designs and research approaches?
- What is actually happening on the ground in terms of the ever-growing diversity of educational provision (state, private, home schooling,etc.)?
Through showcasing a number of case studies as varied as Russia, Germany, Estonia, Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain, the symposium explores, critically re-assesses and challenges popular frameworks of post-socialist and post-authoritarian education, seeking to establish a common methodological perspective to conceptualise ongoing educational change.
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