28 SES 10, Sociologies of Mobile Students and Teachers
Teacher education, teacher professional development and teachers’ working conditions have traditionally been the domain of states and sub-state public policy bodies. However, during the latest decade the attention directed towards teachers as key actors in ‘knowledge economies’ has been unprecedented. Especially the OECD and the World Bank have emerged as major transnational players and connected teachers to global policy agendas (Robertson 2012).
This paper forms part of a current PhD project which examines the construction of TALIS 2013, the second round of the OECD programme Teaching and Learning International Survey. TALIS focuses on working conditions, attitudes and practices among lower secondary school teachers.
The paper situates Finnish and English education policy in the European and global political economy and discusses whether teacher policy in these two countries is being increasingly de-nationalized. As an entry point for this discussion, the paper focuses on the agendas of the main political actors involved in TALIS 2013 on an international level and in England and Finland, including the OECD, the European Commission, state education authorities, international and national teacher unions, and private companies whose relationships to the state are often mediated through private-public partnerships. The paper thus adopts a multi-scalar perspective, paying attention to the relationships between organisations, institutions and companies with various horizons of action.
The paper answers the following research questions:
- How do the emergent geographies of governance in the global educational policy field signify the de-nationalization of policies related to the teaching profession in England and Finland?
- What are the associated normative implications with regard to the character of the teaching profession in England and Finland?
Theoretically, the paper draws on concepts from a range of social sciences, including education, sociology, geography, political science and political economy. In particular, two strands of political economy are applied in the discussion of the de-nationalization of teacher policy.
First, the literature on varieties of capitalism highlights the resilience of national institutional arrangements and the importance of the education sector in the welfare production regimes of contemporary competition states (Hall and Soskice 2001). In this respect, England and Finland constitute contrasting cases, as examples of liberal and coordinated market economies, respectively, although Finland has moved in a liberal direction during the 2000s (Menz 2005, Schneider & Paunescu 2011). Accordingly, England and Finland have also responded differently to OECD recommendations in relation to education policy (Rinne and Ozga 2012).
Second, the paper recognises the limitations of the varieties of capitalism approach in terms of its implied methodological nationalism and a-historicity. Thus, the emergence of the global educational policy field calls for concepts such as internationally variegated capitalism which emphasizes the international economic and political interdependence of national institutional configurations and their embedding in global markets (Streeck 2010). In this perspective, globalizing processes are also initiated deep within national institutional arrangements, according to context-specific capabilities, organizing logics and tipping points (Sassen 2006).
In the discussion of the normative implications for the teaching profession, the paper adopts the notion of pedagogic identities (Bernstein 2000) and Connell’s (1995) distinction between the various political foci associated with teachers’ work.
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