28 SES 07 A, Reshaping Space-Times of Education: Global trends, National responses
Drawing on (post-)Foucauldian theory, this paper maps the genealogy of how a transnational truth regime is produced in a Northern region that integrates national regimes in ways that get global impact (e.g. Robertson et al, 2016; Voogt & Roblin, 2012). Consequently, school and education policy become linked to the performance of the national economy by means of discursive imaginaries – the Knowledge Economy and Lifelong Learning discourse in particular. Hereby discourses about the purpose of school and what counts as public good are being fundamentally transformed.
The thesis of the paper is that you can learn much about what becomes global dominant discourse by exploring how a dominant Northern region and her nations in their fears of falling behind among ‘global knowledge economies‘ become a hotbed for producing standards and imaginaries of best practice that thoroughly affect how global standards are construed. These struggles involve globally defining mediators in the form of transnational organizations (OECD, IEA, UNESCO and the World Bank), which in turn become implicated in making these dominant ideas travel globally – over the North and the South as well (Steiner-Khamsi, 2012; Robertson, 2016). Arguably the most compelling driving discursive force in producing the new regime is motivated by telling the story about fierce global competition where a nation will fall behind if it does not optimize its human capital, i.e. produce ‘employable’ subjects for the economy (Meyer& Benavot, 2013; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010; OECD, 1996).
The paper explores the case of Denmark as a European national case about how school and teacher education policy became increasingly embedded in European transnational policy settings, which in turn became producers of global standards since the 1990s (e.g. Krejsler, Olsson & Petersson, 2014). It is common to observe the transnational turn in European education policy with an inward-looking perspective that emphasizes effects on European nation states as well as effects on European integration, i.e. the fact that European national education policy formats are increasingly negotiated in transnational forums (OECD, EU and the Bologna Process). One easily forgets the effects of these processes in producing formats that travel: The OECD is a story about the Organization for European Economic Cooperation that was expanded in 1961 to becoming the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that countries in the South increasingly aspire to join as a sign of their level of development (Mexico, Chile, Turkey and Russia, Columbia and Costa Rica are on the roadmap for accession). OECD’s agenda-setting PISA surveys includes even more a network of so-called ‘partner countries and economies’ (including most LatinAmerican and South-East Asian countries, Algeria, UAE and others). The European Bologna Process travels widely across Asia and Africa (e.g. Mhamadbhai, G., 2013; Robertson, 2017). And by doing that these policy processes also adopt the discourse and political technologies of an organization whose origin is American and Western European, albeit in local translations that differ widely. IEA which adopts similar approaches to international surveys and are used for ranking by policymakers and the press (against the expressed intention of IEA researchers) have succeeded even more in expanding from a Northern base to include increasingly the South and her nations in TIMSS, PIRLS and even ICCS, thus contributing to producing a global language and achievement, competition and ranking.
The objectives and thesis of the paper, however, deal with a situation that is currently in a flux making it difficult to assess whether the stated transnational turn will expand or recede. The shift in American policy outlook after Trump, Brexit, waves of populism and reactions to globalization thus point to possibly existential challenges for European integration, including education (e.g. Brunkhorst, 2017).
This paper adds to research that stresses the importance of understanding the effects of policy that increasingly travels, within regions like Europe as well as between dominant and less dominant regions in the world: how and by what parameters they become comparable and what ideas of public good that represents (Meyer & Benavot, 2013; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010). The paper draws on Foucauldian Nietzsche-inspired genealogy and post-Foucauldian conceptions of governmentality as methodological approaches to mapping and visualizing the trajectories of interplays beween Danish national school and teacher education policy, European transnational forums and effects on global arenas (Dean, 2007; Pereyra & Franklin, 2014; Popkewitz & Brennan, 1998). Empirically it conducts discourse analysis of Danish national, European transnational documents as well as literature on policy reform from both contexts. The governmentality approach makes it possible to extract perspectives on how new formats for construing subjectivities emerge from the ongoing production of truth in complex policy-making forums. Furthermore, the paper draws on and contributes to current debates on how comparison in education can be conceptualized, including borrowing and lending approaches (e.g. Steiner-Khamsi, 2012), travelling policies and discourse formation approaches (James & Lodge, 2003; Schriever, 2012; Nóvoa & Lawn, 2002; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010).
This paper demonstrates by means of the case of Denmark how the transnational turn in European school and education policy has become manifest in discursive processes and political technologies that have effects globally. It represents a narrative about moving ahead in struggles between transnational and national power, towards shared truth regimes, by engaging in compelling and voluntary elements, which, over time, sediment in the form of increasing collaboration and, by consequence, transform school, teacher education and educational research regimes. This is emphasized keywords like ‘employability’, ‘competences’ and ‘lifelong learning’; political technologies like comparative surveys (PISA, TIMSS & PIRLSS), country reports and performance indicators. In the case of Denmark two OECD country reports on evaluation culture in school and on Danish educational research (R&D) have shown evidence of particularly strong impact in terms of policy advice and formats that later contributed to reshaping national policy (Ekholm et al., 2004; OECD/CERI, 2004). The Open Method of Coordination or Multilateral Surveillance signify the master templates of a consensus-advancing truth regime where mutual peer pressure and the invitation to become comparable ensure that different nation states integrate according to the European motto of ‘unity in diversity’ (Gornitzka, 2006; Krejsler, Olsson & Petersson, 2014). Mutual peer pressure and the fear of excluding oneself from mainstream debate, funding and policy advice ensures adoption of standards, performance indicators and benchmarks in both contexts (Novoa & Lawn, 2002; Rizvi & Lingard, 2010). Similar practices become manifest as OECD and IEA surveys expand to cover ever more countries on a global scale, i.e. in order to be included in what is perceived as a reputable club new-comer countries adapt local national school and education policies to already existing formats of political technologies and procedures for negotiating these (e.g. Mhamadbhai, G., 2013; Robertson, 2017; Robertson et al, 2016).
*Brunkhorst, H. (2017). A Curtain of Gloom is Descending on the Continent: Capitalism, Democracy and Europe. European Law Journal. 1-15 (https://doi.org/10.1111/eulj.12237) *Dean, M. (2007). Governing Societies: Political perspectives on domestic and international rule. New York: Open University Press. *Ekholm, M. et al. (2004). OECD Report on Danish School. Copenhagen: Danish Department of Education. *Gornitzka, Å. (2006). The Open Method of Coordination as Practice. ARENA Working Paper No.16. (from: http://www.efta.int/media/documents/eea/seminars/omc-140508/gornitzka.pdf) *James, O. and Lodge, M., (2003), The limitations of policy transfer and lesson drawing for public policy. Political Studies Review. 1(2) p. 179-193. *Krejsler, J.B.; Olsson, U.; Petersson, K. (2014). The transnational grip on Scandinavian education reforms: The open method of coordination challenging national policy-making. Nordic Studies in Education, Vol.34, No.3, 2014, p.172-186. *Meyer, H-D. & Benavot, A. (Eds.).(2013). PISA, Power, and Policy: The emergence of global educational governance. Oxford: Symposium Books. *Mhamadbhai, G., (2013) Toward an African higher education and research space: Summary report, Commissioned by the ADEA-WGHE. *Nóvoa, A., & Lawn, M. (Eds.). (2002). Fabricating Europe. Dordrecht (NL): Kluwer Academic Publishers. *OECD (1996). The Knowledge Based Economy. Paris: OECD. *OECD/CERI. (2004). National Review on Educational R&D: Examiners' report on Denmark. Paris: OECD/CERI. *Pereyra, M. A., & Franklin, B. M. (Eds.). (2014). Systems of Reason and the Politics of Schooling. New York & London: Routledge. *Popkewitz, T.S. & Brennan; M. (Eds.) (1998). Foucault’s Challenge: Discourse, knowledge and power in education. New York & London: Teachers College Press. *Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing Education Policy. London & New York: Routledge. *Robertson, S. et al. (2016) Higher education, the EU, and the cultural political economy of regionalism, in S. Robertson et al. (eds) Global Regionalisms and Higher Globalisation Education & Social Futures Education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar *Robertson, S.(2017). Approaching Policy Borrowing and Lending in Higher Education. In: Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions. Eds. P.N. Teixeira; J.-C. Shin. Globalization Education & Global Futures. Springer. *Schriever, J.(Ed.)(2012). Discourse Formation in Comparative Education.4th Ed. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. *Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding Policy Borrowing and Lending. Building Comparative Policy Studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), World Yearbook of Education 2012. Policy Borrowing and Lending in Education. New York: Routledge. *Voogt, J. & Roblin, N.P.(2012) A comparative analysis of international frameworks for 21st century competences. Journal of Curriculum Studies. 44(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.668938
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