00 SES 08, Education and Research in a Post-Fact World: Responses, responsibilities and possibilities
This presentation examines the role of expert knowledge in the so-called “post-truth” era. In particular I focus on the credibility of the sources of facts and knowledge, both persons and institutions, within public discourse in the media. I argue that the roots of post-truth politics lie in a challenge to the legitimacy of expert groups who have claimed a monopoly over truth at the expense of first-hand experience and local knowledge, denying the existence of alternative knowledges and values. The interplay of expert knowledge, values and politics in complex areas of social life has long been acknowledged in science technology studies (Wynne 1992; Fischer, 2000; Kennedy, 2016) and the implications of this for source credibility in public communication (Shapin, 1995). Taking a sample of items from the UK press and online media during the week following the release of the PISA 2015 findings I examine the deliberative space around educational achievement and comparison. I look at the sources cited in the media coverage, those that are absent or suppressed and the attitudes to these sources expressed in the texts. I argue that in this arena at least, the credibility of the numbers and the institutions providing them appear to be intact and uncontroversial within policy debates. There appears to be an uncritical acceptance of the expert discourse of science and progress. This counter-example suggests that the idea of “post-truth” does not offer an adequate understanding of the attitudes and responses of voting publics. Decision-making and assessing risk in an overwhelmingly complex social world is difficult for all of us as citizens. How do we, can we, know about what is distant from us? Saturated by media of various kinds, we have to rely on the testimony of trusted witnesses and our apprehension of “reality” is at once both tenuous and wide-ranging. This leaves us wide open to exploitation by the ambitions of powerful actors. Scientists and educationalists are not outside of this political fray. As educational researchers we are part of the elite of knowledge creators with our own values, rules of procedure and epistemologies as well as power relationships. We are implicated in the collapse of trust in expert knowledge and must promote reflexive understandings of how our own activities and methodologies are rooted in struggles around power and knowledge in contemporary globalised societies.
Fischer, F. (2000). Citizens, experts, and the environment: The politics of local knowledge. Duke University Press. Kennedy, D. (2016). A world of struggle: How power, law, and expertise shape global political economy. Princeton University Press. Shapin, S. (1995). Cordelia's love: Credibility and the Social Studies of Science. Perspectives on Science 3(3): 255-275. Wynne, B. (1992). Misunderstood misunderstanding: Social identities and public uptake of science. Public understanding of science, 1(3), 281-304.
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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