ERG SES G13, Management in Education
Labels such as ‘evaluative state’ (Neave, 2012), ‘performance-evaluation nexus’ (Clark, 2004), ‘evaluation society’ (Dahler-Larsen, 2012), ‘audit explosion’ (Power, 2004), ‘audit culture’ (Strathern, 2000) and ‘performance society’ (Humphrey et al., 2000) portray the emergence of powerful, specialist ‘intermediary bodies’ (Neave, 1998) or ‘policy instruments’ (Lascoumes & Le Gales, 2007) to serve as the direct agents of evaluation and surveillance for governing purposes. Schools inspectorates fall within the category of intermediary bodies or policy instruments used to govern the education sector. As scholars have noted (Ehren, 2012; Ozga et al., 2011; van Bruggen, 2010), school inspection also offers a resource for transnational and intranational policy learning within and across education systems. This renders education policy increasingly homogeneous and develops a global field of education policy (Grek et al., 2013; Lawn & Grek, 2012).
Against the backdrop of travelling policy (Ozga & Jones, 2006), it is interesting to note that the education sector in Sweden has been witnessing the emergence of an increasingly complex, financially weighty, and legislatively characterised system of inspections since the national and centrally administered schools inspectorate was reinstated in 2003. A point of departure in the paper is that the government’s increasing resources given to the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, and the inevitable outcome in the form of a spiralling body of legislation, can be seen as part of the process known as ‘juridification’ (Neave, 1998; cf. Brännström, 2009), that is, a displacement towards legal discourse. I argue that when the evaluative state is examined in terms of the way in which the schools inspectorate embodies and mediates the contract between the government, society, and education, the above shift in discourse becomes visible. And, as noted by Neave (2012:59): ‘Shifts in discourse are important. They shape the frame within which policy is debated, presented and, if successful, made permanent.’
The theoretical and analytic framework draws mainly on two conceptual resources. The first one is the above mentioned ‘juridification’ which, to paraphrase Neave (1998:269), is ‘the recourse to legislative enactment as a means of enforcing practice and implementing policy’. Or to put it differently, ‘comes about when an issue that was previously dealt with within a cultural, ethical, political, economical, or some other kind of discourse, begins to be, or to be more clearly or more often, treated as a legal matter’ (Brännström, 2009:328). Although studies of legalization processes in education settings have been rare, studies have been frequent within organizational research. Many of the latter, however, have been criticised for not paying attention to the underlying micro-routines of legalization processes, such as ‘the varied ways in which “due process” can be realised at the level of primary traces … and why this might be consequential, not least for a better understanding of how organizational agents may react and “overcomply”’ (Power, 2013:12). Against this backdrop, the concept of ‘audit trails’, which are described as ‘evidential pathways which connect traces of micro-routines to performance reporting regimes and institutional environments’ (ibid.:3), is used as the second main resource in the paper. I propose that the concept of audit trails offers alternative ways to analyse the translation processes that occur at the local level and may also illuminate how local school actors react and perform due to school inspections.
Brännström, L. (2009). Förrättsligande: en studie av rättens risker och möjligheter med fokus på patientens ställning. [Juridification: a study of the hazards and potentials of law, focusing on the legal position of the patient in health care.] Lund: Bokbox förlag. Clarke, J. (2004). Changing welfare, changing states. London: Sage. Dahler-Larsen, P. (2012). The Evaluation Society. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Ehren, M. (2012). Impact of School Inspections on Teaching and Learning. Online: http://schoolinspections.eu/summary-of-year-1-comparative-results-isi-tl-study-impact-of-school-inspections-on-teaching-and-learning/ Grek, S., Lawn, M., Ozga, J., & Segerholm, C. (2013). Governing by inspection? European inspectorates and the creation of a European education policy space. Comparative Education, 49:4, 486-502. Humphrey, C., Bowerman, M., & Raby, H. (2000). In search of the audit society: some evidence from health care, police and schools. International Journal of Auditing 4:1, 71-100. Lascoumes, P., & Le Gales, P. (2007). Introduction: Understanding Public Policy through Its Instruments - From the Nature of Instruments to the Sociology of Public Policy Instrumentation. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 20:1, 1-21. Lawn, M. & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing Education. Governing a new policy space. Oxford: Symposion Books. Neave, G. (1998). The Evaluative State Reconsidered. European Journal of Education, 33:3, 265-284. Neave, G. (2012). Evaluative state, institutional autonomy and re-engineering higher education in Western Europe. The prince and his pleasure. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Ozga, J., Dahler-Larsen, P., Segerholm, C., & Simola, H. (Eds.). (2011). Fabricating Quality in Education. Data and Governance in Europe. London: Routledge. Ozga, J. and Jones, K. (2006) ‘Travelling and embedded policy: the case of knowledge transfer’, Journal of Education Policy, vol.21, 1, 1-17. Power, M. (2004). The Audit Explosion. London: Demos. Power, M. (2013). Organizations and Audit Trails. (Unpublished work). Steyerl, H. (2003). Documentarism as Politics of truth. Online, 2012-09-19: http://eipcp.net/transversal/1003/steyerl2/en Strathern, M. (ed). (2000). Audit Cultures: Anthroplogical Studies in Accountability, Ethics and the Academy. London: Routledge. van Bruggen, J. C. (2010). Inspectorates of Education in Europe: some comparative remarks about their tasks and work. Online: http://lua.rlp.de/fileadmin/aqs/Service/Inspectorates_in_Europe.pdf
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
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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