03 SES 11 C JS, Comparative Educational Knowledge and Knowledge Production: A technology of appearance: Interactional acts of education Part 1
Joint Symposium NW 03 and NW 23 to be continued in 03 SES 14 C JS
In this paper, we historicize on what we analytically claim to be a reasoning (cf. Hacking, 1992) framing regional comparative assessments. We discuss these regional assessments as more common in contemporary educational discourses, especially concerning educational activities at a world level. We show how international large-scale assessments (ILSA) have developed in the westernized world as a result of a societal reasoning on quantifications and measurements for governing state and society. This differs somewhat from how regional assessments are developed in terms of inspiration. Rather than being developed historically in tandem with modernity and democracy, regional assessments are instead disseminated and instantiated as a process of appurtenance (Pettersson, Popkewitz & Lindblad, 2016). Here, with the aid of a specific reasoning visible in different ILSA, nations and regions try to signal modernity and the ability to compete in terms of economic development. Regional assessments thus become a way of introducing/refining a well-established reasoning of governing states and society in different parts of the world. Normally, the spread of ILSA is discussed in terms of dissemination into policy, discourse and science (e.g. Wagemaker, 2014). In this paper, we elaborate on how the dominant reasoning of ILSA is disseminated in regionally based assessments. The concept of colonization is used theoretically to say something about how displacement (Latour, 1988) of reasoning (Hacking, 1992) works. We do not claim that colonization is actually taking place, but use it as a literal trope, figurative language or figure of speech to illuminate the process. The concept of colonization is inspired by Edward Said’s notion of orientalism (1980), where he claims that western studies of Islamic civilization that took the form of political intellectualism meant more for the self-affirmation of European identity than objective academic study. In this, western oriental studies function more as a practical method of cultural discrimination and imperialist domination than actually visualizing the Orient, leading to western orientalists knowing more about the Orient than the Oriental themselves. This is rather like saying that ILSA know more about national ‘education’ than local educationalists. We acknowledge regional assessments as a way of changing ILSA into more regional priorities and practices. As such, regional assessments can be seen as a resistance movement against cultural discrimination and imperialist domination. However, if regional assessments are simply an extension of ILSA reasoning, how should they be understood?
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