23 SES 07 D, Governing through Networks
This presentation focuses on the role of think tanks in the fabrication and execution of educational policies. Our interest is to contribute to a literature that discusses the rising of new “intra-national spaces of policy” and their influence in bringing changes in educational policies (Ball, 2016). For that, we will present an exploratory study about EDULOG, a self-titled think tank for education created in 2015 in Portugal that brings together actors that worked (or still do) in the government, businesses and in the academy.
Think tanks are rising up in Europe in the last decades (McGann, 2016). On the one hand, this phenomena comes together with the transformation of the State, which manifests by the emergence of “post-bureaucratic” regulatory regimes (Maroy, 2012), emphasizing accountability, contracts, good practices, user control of schools and the shape of the “evaluative State” (Neave, 2012). On the other hand, transnational organizations, private organizations and experts that circulate worldwide are becoming key players in educational governance (Kotthoff & Klerides, 2015). As part of these changes, knowledge (its technologies for collection, circulation and comparison) is now central in the process of policy making and becoming the process of governing itself (Fenwick et al, 2014). This scenario is a fertile ground to the emergency of new spaces, within and outside each national political system, where knowledge is constructed and diffused in order to be used in policy decision-making (van Zanten, 2013). Simultaneously, this is an opportunity for new actors, namely think tanks, to have a more intense participation in policy (Lingard, 2016). Thus, the rising of think tanks is both an indicator of: a) changes in State intervention, specifically of a “shift away from government towards forms of polycentric governance” (Ball & Exley 2010, p. 151) and b) changes in the complex knowledge-policy relations, once think tanks claim to be expert-based intermediators between different social worlds.
We conceptualize think tanks as “hybrid, boundary spanning organisations that work across academic, media, political and economic fields” (Lingard, 2016, p. 15) and as “nebulous configuration[s] of new and old actors, [with] ambiguous responsibilities and blurry margins of action” (Olmedo & Santa Cruz, 2013, p. 492). Thus, theoretically we don’t look at think tanks as organizations, but as part of broader policy networks (Ball & Exley, 2010), and as important “nodes” within education policy networks (Exley, 2014) committed to develop and disseminate a certain educational knowledge. This theoretical perspective allows us to understand their particular role in re-framing “policy problems and advocate for particular policy solutions” (Savage, 2015, p. 35) and to understand the ideas and expertise employed by them (Stone & Denham, 2004).
Ball, S. J. & Exley, S. (2010). Making policy with ‘good ideas’: policy networks and the ‘intellectuals’ of New Labour, Journal of Education Policy, 25(2), 151-169. Ball, S. J. (2016). Following policy: networks, network ethnography and education policy mobilities, Journal of Education Policy, 31(5), 549-566. Birkland, T. A. (2006). Agenda Setting, Power, and Interest Groups. Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics, and Methods (pp. 105-131). New York: ME Sharpe. Exley, S. (2014). Think tanks and policy networks in English education. In: Hill, Michael, (ed.) Studying public policy: an international approach (pp. 179-190). Bristol: Policy Press. Fenwick, T., Mangez, E., & Ozga, J. (Eds.). (2014).World Yearbook of Education 2014: Governing Knowledge: Comparison, Knowledge-Based Technologies and Expertise in the Regulation of Education. Routledge. Hogan, A. (2016). Network ethnography and the cyberflâneur: evolving policy sociology in education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 29(3), 381-398 Kotthoff, H. G., & Klerides, E. (2015). Researching Governance in Education: Synergies and Future Research Agendas. In Governing Educational Spaces (pp. 1-11). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Lingard, B. (2016). Think Tanks, ‘policy experts’ and ‘ideas for’ education policy making in Australia. The Australian Educational Researcher, 43(1), 15-33. Maroy, C. (2012). Towards post-bureaucratic modes of governance: A European perspective. Waldow, F., & Steiner-Khamsi, G. (Eds.). Policy Borrowing and Lending in Education. London: Routledge, pp. 62-79. McGann, J. (2016). The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance. Brookings Institution Press. Neave, G. (2012). The evaluative state, institutional autonomy and re-engineering higher education in Western Europe: The prince and his pleasure. New York: Springer. Olmedo, A., & Grau, E. S. C. (2013). Neoliberalism, policy advocacy networks and think tanks in the Spanish educational arena: The case of FAES. Education Inquiry, 4(3), 473-496. Ozga, J. (2008). Governing Knowledge: research steering and research quality. European Educational Research Journal,7 (3), 261-272. Savage, G. C. (2015). Think tanks, education and elite policy actors. The Australian Educational Researcher, 43(1), 35-53. Scott, J. (2000). Social Network Analysis-An Handbook. London: Sage. Stone, D. & Denham, A. (2004). Think tank traditions: Policy research and the politics of ideas. New York: Manchester University Press. van Zanten A. (2013). Connaissances et politiques d'éducation : quelles interactions?. Revue française de pédagogie, 1(182), 5-8. Viseu, S. (2016). Play the game or get played? Researchers’ strategies around R&D policies. In Karen Trimmer (ed.). Political Pressures on Educational and Social Research- International perspectives (pp. 55-65). London: Routledge.
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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