28 SES 09 A, Time for Change? For a Temporal Turn in the Sociological Study of Education and Europe (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 28 SES 08 A
This paper draws its interest from contemporary European governing constellations on education and learning as exemplified both by nation states and by supranational governing bodies . Drawing on analyses of modes of governing in terms of their historical (Foucault,1984) and regional (Latour,2013) ontologies of the present, the paper analyses these constellations in view of how they have altered the making and experience of time and temporality. The theoretical point we want to make is that these historicising and regionalising approaches, and similar to the policies and governing practices they seek to disentangle, have difficulties to articulate the specificity of education(al time). Specific to current governing modes (e.g. ET2020 monitoring) is that they operate through what (proves) to be working. This entails ‘governing departing from reality, departing from existing activities, and no longer governing the real, or the concrete with the idea that the concrete and its government would be objects of decision’ (Berns,2009:7). With the retreatment of governing the real (and related social planning/reform), the space of reconstruction or improvement is ordered according to the logic of the actual and the potential/virtual (Deleuze,1990). For instance, a (comparative) knowledge claim on the actual performance of the Flemish educational system is at once a statement about a potential future that opens up a learning space in view of increased performance. Departing from reality, hence, boils down to ‘governing the possible’ (Berns,2009: 90): designing and modelling futures which enact possibilities in the present. As additional element of governing the possible, equally the past is being designed and (becoming) available as resource within the present. Hence, both past and future are no longer horizons or objectives of governing but, instead, become reframed as available resources for governing the ‘eternal present’ (Beck,1992), and the eternal possible in the present (e.g. by monitoring and learning, which allow to know at once what one is and can become - Simons, 2007). Conclusively, what takes shape is a mode of edu-governing where the possible (and the promise of learning) is kept alive by designing both futures and pasts. Education appears as the limit of current modes of governing here: framed as ‘learning’, it is turned into an essential component (or accomplice) of governing, but simultaneously remains outside such governing. In order to understand this outside, we argue, ontologies of the present themselves have to deal with their own blind spot, that is, articulating the specificity of educational time.
Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London: SAGE. Berns, T. (2009). Gouverner sans gourverner. Paris: PUF. Deleuze, G.(1990). Postscripts on control societies. Negotiations: 1972–1990 (pp. 177–182). York: Columbia University Press Foucault, M. (1984). What is enlightenment? In P. Rabinow (Ed.), The Foucault reader (pp. 32-50). New York: Pantheon Books. Latour, B. (2013). An inquiry into modes of existence. Harvard University Press. Simons, M. (2007). ‘To be informed’: Understanding the role of feedback information for Flemish/European policy. Journal of Education Policy, 22, 531–548.
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