28 SES 13 A, Teachers in the Context of Globalisation: Prospects for an expanding field
This paper revisits some of the arguments developed in my book on teachers’ work - A Class Act: Changing Teachers’ Work, the State, and Globalisation (Robertson, 2000). Almost two decades on, and it is clear that not only has the relationship between teachers and the state altered in many countries around the globe, but there have been radical transformations in the geometry of state space. These developments were hinted at in various chapters of the book, as political projects like neoliberalism, and the demeanours associated with what was referred to in the book as ‘fast capitalism’, was unravelling the post-War 11 social contract between teachers and the state. In revisiting these arguments, three things are particularly striking regarding what has changed: the visible presence of global actors, like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in encoding the idea of the good teacher for the 21st Century; the proliferation of private sector actors in ‘servicing’ the education sector; and the entry of private sector interests into the sector around teacher preparation. Many of these developments have been traced in detail by sociologists over the past two decades. However, what is not addressed in this body of work is what these developments mean for how we theorise teachers and social class, labour process theory, and the sites and stakes of struggle over the conditions of their work. I suggest that we might use theorists like Bernstein (2000), and economic sociologists like Marion Fourcade (2016) to think in new ways about the politics of production of teachers, labour, and class in the second decade of the 21st Century.
Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control, and Identity: Theory, Research, Critique. Revised edition. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield. Fourcade, M. (2016). “Ordinalization: Lewis A. Coser Memorial Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting 2014.” Sociological Theory, 34(3), 175–195. Robertson, S.L. (2000). A Class Act: Changing Teachers' Work, the State, And Globalisation. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Robertson, S.L. (2016). “The Global Governance of Teachers’ Work”. In: The Handbook of Global Education Policy, edited by K. Mundy, A. Green, B. Lingard, and A. Verger, 275-290. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
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