23 SES 13 A, Education Policy Analysis: Methodological Issues
This paper explores the formation of education policy at times of transition. It has long been acknolwedged that education has not been immune to the neoliberal project contained within globalisation. This is particularly so in England since the late 1980s. Consequently, at a time when party politics in the West appears to be converging on the centre -right, a key question is how might education policy be constructed by newly elected governments in ways that appear original and distinctive to the electorate, whilst espousing the values and ideologies of the political party or parties in power.
The paper takes for its example the construction of English education policy, under Secretary of State Michael Gove (2010-2014) following the 2010 General Election and the formation of the Conservative and Liberal Democrate coalition. Drawing on the five key questions raised by Ishkanian and Szreter (2012) this paper considers first, what aspect of British polity does the notion of Big Society, which underpinned coalition social and education reforms during this period, refer to? What did it seek to engage with and foster or disengage with and shun? Second, it explores the use of rhetoric as a means of establishing credibility and third it explores the historical antecendents upon which the concept is constructed. Finally, it considers the limits and possibilities for education policy contained within the notion of a Big Society : empowering people, encouraging social action and opening social services to private enterprise. In other words,' the market where possible and the state where necessary' (Crouch 2013). In order to do this two theoretical frameworks are adopted. First, Lévi-Strauss's(1962) notion of bricolage as a method of policy formation and second Hall et al's conceptualisation of the agency of political ideas.
The paper has relevance to an international audience for a number of reasons.
1.It illuminates some of the external and internal influences on policy formation
2.t highlights the tensions between liberal, conservative and rationalist approaches to education
3. It revisits some of the key issues relating to the puposes of state education
4. It engages with debates about the tensions between state, civil society and the market.
Aughy, A., 2010 From declinism to endism: exploring the ideology of British break-up. Journal of Political Ideologies 15(1( pp11-30. Ball, S.J., 2012 The Reluctant State and the beginning and end of State Education. Journal of Education Administration and History 4492) pp89-103 Crouch, C., 2011. The Strange non-death of Neoliberalism. Bristol, Polity Press Crouch, C., 2013. Making Capitalism fit for Society. Cambridge, Polity Press DfE 2010a. The Case for Change. London, The Stationery Office DfE 2010b The Importance of Teaching: The Schools White Paper. London, The Stationery Office. Hall, P.A ed., 1988 The Political Power of Economic Ideas: keynesianism across nations. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press Hirschman, A.O., 1992 Rival Views of Market Society and Other Recent Essays. Cambridge Massachusetts Ishkankian, A & Szreter, S., eds., 2012 The Big Society Debate: A new agenda for social welfare? Cheltnham, Edward Elgar. Levi-Strauss, C., 1962 The Savage Mind. Letchworth, The Garden City Press ltd.
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