03 SES 04 A, Can Educational Knowledge Be Powerful? Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 03 SES 06 A
In this paper we consider the state of knowledge production in the discipline of education in South Africa, by exploring the interface between the disciplines of economics and education in relation to the question of educational inequality. We argue that a tradition of economics of education followed by educational research is emerging in South Africa which is more rigorous and evidence-based than in the past. Within this tradition, a dominant economics view theorizes inequality as predominantly the result of wage inequality, which in turn depends on access to quality education. The chronic poverty and the conditions associated with it are left behind. In contrast with the dominant narrative today, during the 1970s and 1980s educational research in South Africa was focused on the critique of the political, social, and economic oppression of apartheid and located the massive educational inequalities, predominantly racially based, in those conditions. Here, a key claim was that apartheid schooling was in the main for the purpose of reproducing a certain kind of labour. Today, changing curriculum, management, and instructional practice are seen as the main vehicles for educational change. This is influenced both by economists who argue that taking into account various measures of poverty and resources, some 30% of the performance of schools remains ‘unexplained’ and must be based on in-school differences, and educational research which criticizes neglect of the epistemic power of knowledge by an over-emphasis on its social power. Large-scale educational interventions have demonstrated only small differences (albeit, statistically significant) to educational change—and researchers continue to show, through large data sets, a bi-modal distribution of school quality that mirrors the harsh economic reality of South Africa. This questions not the truth-claims of research instance-by instance, but the overall explanatory power of the body of research in a country that has the worst levels of inequality in the world. The paper therefore offers support to the concern that certain traditions of enquiry are becoming marginalized in educational research, with implications both for the explanatory power of the discipline, and its policy emphasis. We suggest that this could stem from some or all of the following factors: inherent limitations to the boundary of the discipline of education; a sense of helplessness about chronic poverty in society and what educationalists can do; the ways in which educational economists and policy makers have formed an alliance driven by the dominance of a particular tradition in economics.
Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity (2nd ed.). New York: Rowman and Littlefield. Demaine, J. (1981). Contemporary Theories in the Sociology of Education. Springer. Hordern, J. (2017). Bernstein’s sociology of knowledge and education (al) studies. In G. Whitty &J. Furlong (Eds.), Knowledge and the study of education: An international exploration (pp. 191–210). Didcot: Symposium. Ladd, H F (2012). Presidential Address: Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 31(2): 203-227. Lawn, M. & Furlong, J. (2009). The disciplines of education in the UK: between the ghost and the shadow. Oxford Review of Education, 35 (5): 541–552. Moore, R. (1996). Back to the Future: the problem of change and the possibilities of advance in the sociology of education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 17:2, 145-161. Shalem, Y. & Allais, S. (2019). Polarity in sociology of knowledge: the relationship between disciplinarity, curriculum, and social justice, The Curriculum Journal, DOI: 10.1080/09585176.2018.1557534 van der Berg, S., Spaull, N., Wills, G., Gustafsson, M., & Kotze, J. (2016). Identifying Binding Constraints in Education. Research on Socio-Economic Policy Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch
Some networks have already started to plan their chairperson(s).
But at the moment chairpersons are only pencilled in, as we will still need to check for time conflicts between presentation and chairing duties. EERA office will work on this in due course and then officially let chairpersons know about their chairing duties.
Meanwhile, thank you for your patience.
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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