28 SES 06 A, Convergence, heterarchies, and association in international and European education policy
In this paper, we draw on the notion of controversy mapping through digital methods to engage a conversation about methodologies for tracing the politics of association (Latour, 2005) between state and non-state actors in higher education (HE) governance. To do so, we present findings from a study in which we explored the ways in which internationalization is performed in HE by actors across policy scales and how connections between these actors influence governance processes.
Organizations outside HE are increasingly involved in universities’ engagement with internationalization (Author). Consequently, universities are becoming rife political spaces, entangled in expanding parternships and strategic interests of organizations such as national government agencies, trade partners, industry stakeholders, think tanks and international groups. These organizations can be considered policy actors involved in both the making and the doing of policy (Gorur, 2011). The problem is that many partnerships occur through informal policy networks that operate outside of formal institutional relations that often mask how governance takes place (Ball & Junemann, 2012; Hajer & Wagenaar, 2003). Indeed, as Wright & Oberg (2008) argue, in their study of Danish universities, these associations are symptomatic of the state steering at a distance, whereby state control is maintained through mediating actors. Consequently, who is involved in partnerships and what they do is not always visible.
Furthermore, Brown (2015) warns that neoliberal principles, in which these partnerships have emerged, have radically shaped HE institutions as economic actors as they draw tight associations with non-state actors. She argues such associations have consequences for the democratic role of universities as social institutions, educating for the exchange of critique in fostering capacities for an engaged citizenry, rather than corporate citizens for corporate interests.
Our work draws on theoretical underpinnings of actor-network theory and controversy mapping (Latour, 2005; Marres & Moats; Venturini, 2010) to trace social debates of internationalization. We explore the politics of how state and non-state actors associate, considering what draws them together. Our research draws on digital methods that engaged Twitter and website co-link analysis to explore actors and discourses involved in internationalization. We respond to two questions: 1) How can we trace the involvement of actors who often remain hidden?; and 2) What do we gain as researchers through this tracing, in understanding the spaces for universities to engage in controversy making as democratic institutions?
The lens of controversy is powerful for “observing the social world and its making” (Venturini, 2010, p. 6). Controversy mapping provides a methodology for exploring the competing efforts to frame governance realities and enroll other actors (Jolivet & Heiskanen, 2010). We set out in this research to trace interactions “where alliances and opposition transform recklessly; where nothing is as simple as it seems; where everyone is shouting and quarreling; where conflicts grow harshest” (Venturini, 2010, p. 5). The notion of controversy mapping aligns well with Brown’s theoretical considerations for the role of HE institutions in creating vibrant democracies with the exchange of ideas. Our research here draws on digital methods as social and political research (Marres, 2017; Rogers, 2014) to map the international actors and discourses associated around six nationally based organizations in Canada. We searched for contestations and alliances that have formed around internationalization to examine the spaces for “shouting and quarreling” in the efforts to frame internationalization. The findings are relevant to discussions of HE governance in Europe as we focus on methodology of controversy mapping. Digital methods research allows us to research beyond borders through data created in global spaces. Our aim is to generate a conversation for the potential of this methodology for policy research on a global scale.
This research engaged digital methods to study policy, an emerging method in contemporary policy research. We collected two types of data for analysis in this research to trace the involvement of six key non-state actors involved in internationalization through policy or strategic plans at the national level in Canada. These actors were national university associations, think tanks and non-government organizations. Twitter data were collected over 16 months through a Twitter Capture and Analysis Tool (TCAT) at the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam (Rogers, 2013) by capturing discourses (hashtags) and actors (handles) related to internationalization. The links between the actors and discourses in the data were represented visually through graphic software to map the associations in internationalization. Additionally, we conducted a co-link analysis using a tool called the “issue crawler” (Rogers, 2013), to examine the actors to which these six key non-state actors were digitally connected. The connections were visualized through a social network map. Digital methods are a flourishing approach to research in the social sciences and humanities (Rogers, 2013; Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín & Kil, 2015). Social media data propel new methodological debates and practices for research (Borra & Rieder, 2014; Snee, Hine, Morey, Roberts & Watson, 2016). An important area of development in social science research is the fostering of scholar networks that can be productive in research relationships and output (Quan-Haase, Suarez & Brown, 2014). This project involves an important interdisciplinary link between educational policy and digital humanities research that can produce future research potentials.
Our findings suggest that universities have become isolated at the margins of internationalization discourses, even though they are centrally located in the activities. Relatedly, a science corridor formed by actors from federal science ministries, industry and think tanks to dominate the field. These two themes in our findings raise important questions about how universities are engaged as sites of democratic engagement in internationalization if they have not been centrally enrolled through discourses. Rather, we saw the prevalence of non-state actors through think tanks and industries associated very closely with national government ministries, indicating a close proximity of association between the state and non-state actors in internationalization that by-passed universities themselves. This finding is striking in the Canadian context, as the federal government ministries and agencies hold no formal responsibility for higher education governance. It should be equally interesting to consider such association in the context of the European Higher Education Area. Furthermore, the absence of critical discourses about national agendas tied to the knowledge economy suggested that the potentials for universities to play a role in fostering critique was also absent. The harmonization of the science corridor that marginalized universities is troubling, in that the spaces for generating controversies has not been taken up, at best, or has been intentionally sidelined, at worst. The consequence of this marginalization places universities as passive, weakened actors whose position in the field of higher education is steered at a distance through the relations between state and non-state actors. Our expected outcome for this paper is to generate a conversation about how digital methods and controversy mapping bring insights to policies research in education. We aim to raise our own controversies about the capacities for researchers engaged in the sociological study of education policy to envision both the spaces and limitations of these approaches.
Ball, S., & Junemann, C. (2012). Policy networks and new governance. Bristol, UK: Policy Press. Borra, E., & Rieder, B. (2014). Programmed method: developing a toolset for capturing and analyzing Tweets, Aslib Journal of Information Management, 66(3), 262-278. Brown, W. (2015). Undoing the demos: Neoliberalism’s stealth revolution. New York, NY: Zone. Gorur, R. (2011). Policy as assemblage. European Educational Research Journal, 10(14), 611 – 622. doi: 10.2304/eerj.2011.10.4.611 Hajer, M., & Wagenaar, H. (2003). Introduction. In M. Hajer & H. Wagenaar (Eds.), Deliberative policy analysis: Understanding governance in the network society (pp. 1–30). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Jolivet, E., & Heiskanen, E. (2010). Blowing against the wind: An exploratory application of actor network theory to the analysis of local controversies and participation processes in wind energy. Energy Policy, 38(2010), 6746-6754. doi: http://dina.centre-cired.fr/IMG/pdf/dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.06.044 Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to Actor-Network Theory. London: Oxford University Press. Marres, N. (2017). Digital sociology. Cambridge, UK: Polity. Marres, N., & Moats, D. (2015). Mapping controversies with social media: The case for symmetry. Social Media & Society, 1(2), 1-17. Quan-Hasse, A., Suarez, J., & Brown, D. (2014). Collaborating, connecting and clustering in the humanities: A case study of networked scholarship in an interdisciplinary, dispersed team. American Behavioral Scientist, 59(5), 565 – 581. doi: 10.1177/0002764214556806 Rogers, R., Sánchez-Querubín, N., & Kil, A. (2015). Issue mapping for an ageing Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Available at http://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=569806 Rogers, R. (2013). Digital methods. Boston: MIT Press. Rogers, R. (2014). Political research in the digital age. International Public Policy Review, 8(1), 73- 87. Snee, H., Hine, C., Morey, Y., Roberts, S. & Watson, H. (2016). Digital methods for social science: An interdisciplinary guide for research innovation. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Venturini, T. (2010). Diving in magma: How to explore controversies with actor-network theory. Public Understanding of Science, 19(3), 258-273. Wright, S., & Ørberg, J. W. (2008). Autonomy and control: Danish university reform in the context of modern governance. Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 27 – 57. doi: 10:3167/latiss2008.010104
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
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.