23 SES 10 B, Education as Applied Politics: Critiquing and Inscribing Policy into Practice and Building Alternatives (Part 2)
Symposium: continued from 23 SES 10 B
Accountability is a pivotal yet problematic focus of educational policy and research, and so a subject that must be engaged with and re-thought. The paper draws on Hardt and Negri’s (2000) distinction between constituted and constitutive power to describe the significance of constituted power (the power of the state) arrangements in the English educational system; and the consequences in terms of narrowing educational provision (Au 2007; Natriello 2009), constraining inter-organizational collaboration (Harris 2005; Milbourne 2009), and school-community relationships (Easen et al 2005). Eigenauer’s (2004) simile of ‘seeing like a state’ illuminates the affordances and constraints of the optics of constituted-power accountability structures. This is demonstrated by a case study (Duggan 2012), of the relationship between a local (now global) grassroots, local-growing organization and primary and secondary schools whereby collective action engendered a substantive shift in one school’s improvement process. I argue that accountability structures frame and constrain roles and organizational capacities within and between school-community activity, with a particular limit on collective action and the benefits to educational outcomes. Furthermore, that the technologies exist to engage and develop significant untapped resources for developing broader, more engaging and effective education, using constitutive and associational practices.
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