28 SES 11 B, Paper Session
This panel complicates recent discussions on the rise of governance by data in education with a perspective that nationalism has played and continues to play a strong role in the governance of states, education systems and institutions. Researchers have widely acknowledged the fact that performance data has turned into the modern Oracle of educational truth (Gorur, 2017). However, surprisingly little attention has been paid to how the Oracle converses in the patriotic language of homogenous nations, cultures and peoples, manifesting continuities between the present and the entangled history of statistics, nationalism and education. The perspective of nationalism has been peripheral in the literature on education governance by data. As Billig (1995) has argued, nationalism is often mistakenly understood for an extreme and exotic force, thus relegating it to the periphery of unstable political formations and ignoring the daily reproduction of nationhood in established nations. Studies concerned with the contemporary rise of education performance data have so far predominantly related it to Europeanization (Lawn & Grek, 2012), globalization (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010) or neoliberalism (Ball, 2003).
While the usual policy of governance by numbers functions across scales and in an increasingly cross-border, global manner, the proposed panel makes a case in favour of viewing datafication through the analytical lens of nationalism and nation-building. This panel explores how data on performance perform the world into being in nationalistically colored ways. Education performance data frame the world, construct domains and render them stable for further calculation, deliberation and ordering (Popkewitz, 2012). This happens through, for instance, the decisions and practices of who is measured, how and for what purpose, as well as by putting data to nationalistic political uses and affirming its value through largely normalized nationalistic rhetoric.
In the world of nation-states – and the contemporary world continues to be imagined as such, perhaps even more so now than in the past (Tröhler & Lenz, 2015) – the force of (banal) nationalism deserves continuous attention. In this proposed panel, we aim to show that education data contributes to the ongoing reproduction of national boundaries and performs nations into being. At the same time, the national imaginary and the unquestioned preeminence of nation-states power the very rise of education data. Education data enable the routine “flagging” of the nation, and we are interested in the practices and politics of education data that sustain nationalism as ‘an endemic condition’ of the world.
By nationalism, we refer to the ideology, discourses and practices that assert that the nation and the state correspond (Gellner, 1983), turning the nation, defined in cultural and linguistic terms, into the main source of political legitimation of a defined territory. Nationalism is also an international model that perceives the world as meticulously divided into mutually exclusive sovereign national units that function precisely because they have developed powerful strategies that reproduce the nations as nations. Following a constructivist understanding of nations as artificial and imagined (which nevertheless does not make them any less “real”; Anderson, 1983), we see nations as relying on carefully planned, but also mundane/hidden, long-term nation-building policies and practices, adopted to diffuse and strengthen a sense of nationhood. Nation-building is a continuous process through which a dominant culture tends to become a hegemonic culture of conversion and assimilation, triggering a process of “internal colonizing” of a territory (Hechter, 1975), claiming a universalistic effect within the territory of the state (Zambeta, 2005), powerful enough to transform (seemingly?) international endeavors and data into national(ist) programs of cultural reproduction, ironically legitimated by its international performance.
The symposium is co-organized by Nelli Piattoeva (University of Tampere) and Daniel Tröhler (University of Vienna).
Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities. Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London, UK: Verso. Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy 18(2), 215–228. Billig, M. (1995). Banal nationalism. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Gellner, E. (1983). Nations and nationalism. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Gorur, R. (2017). Towards productive critique of large-scale comparisons in education. Critical Studies in Education 58(3), 341-355. Hechter, M. (1975). Internal colonialism. The Celtic fringe in British national development, 1536-1966. London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Lawn, M. & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education: governing a new policy space. Oxford, UK: Symposium Books Popkewitz, T. S. (2012). Numbers in grids of intelligibility: Making sense of how educational truth is told. In H. Lauder et al. (eds.) Educating for the knowledge economy? Critical perspectives (pp. 169-191). New York, NY: Routledge. Rizvi, F. & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. Oxon: Routledge. Tröhler, D. & Lenz, T. (eds.) (2015). Trajectories in the development of modern school systems: Between the national and the global. New York, NY: Routledge. Zambeta, E. (2005). The survival of nationalism in a globalized system. In D. Coulby & E. Zambata (eds.), Word yearbook of education 2005: Globalization and nationalism in education (pp. 48-72). London, UK: Routledge Falmer.
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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