23 SES 13 A, The Encounter between Homogenization and Heterogeneity: Increased standardization in a diverse world? Part 2
Public narratives are stories about groups, persons, or “social categories” (Van den Hoonard, 2013, p. 34) that are attached to, and constructed by “cultural formations larger than the single individual” (Somers and Gibson, 1994, p. 62). Dominant, public narratives in a society are significant because they are built in to institutions and laws where they generate norms, standards, rewards and sanctions in ways that have material consequences (Hayward, 2012) for individuals and groups. According to Roe (1994) narratives that underwrite policy have an additional constitutive force as they produce meaning, structure and alignment to otherwise messy fields of governing. Hence, analyses of public/policy narratives can bring out and make visible structural elements that govern the way we behave, think and talk. This paper investigates four core policy documents that constitutes the “Education Reform 2020” in Norway: one Official Norwegian Report, two White Papers and the revised Core Curriculum. Apart from theories about the constitutive force of public/policy narratives, the analysis is framed by theories about how narrative plots underwrite preferred identities, actions, ideas and behaviors (Holstein & Gubrium, 2000). The aim for the analysis is to identify dominant public narratives about education, learning and teaching and the student identities these narratives construct. Methodically, the paper will show how methods of analyses of public narratives can illuminate how policy documents gain what Holstein and Gubrium (2000) call narrative control: a governing and standardizing effect beyond the administrative regulation of the educational sector. The paper explicates how technologies of narrative editing (Søreide, 2007) operates in the documents. In the identified policy narratives, plots, or sequencing (Bridgman and Barry, 2002) establish causal links between students’ development of social, emotional and meta-cognitive competencies, students’ learning abilities, and a good learning outcome. Further, the plot establish a close link between a good learning outcome and students’ future successful learning and employability. Employability is finally narrated as the main educational aim, as having a job will ensure participation and prevent “outsideness”. In other words: the main policy narrative that runs through the documents connect students’ social, emotional and meta-cognitive competencies to their future inclusion in society. This narrative include certain intentions, expectations and demands, and consequently also produce and/or presuppose certain identity resources (Søreide 2007) for students. The paper will show how the dominant narrative about education rests heavily on a student identity that endorse social, emotional and metacognitive competencies, such as self-regulation.
Bridgman, T. and Barry, D. (2002) Regulation Is Evil: An Application of Narrative Policy Analysis to Regulatory Debate in New Zealand. Policy Sciences, 35 (2 ),141-161 Hayward, C. R (2012) Bad stories: narrative, identity, and the state’s materialist pedagogy, in Pykett, J (ed) Governing through pedagogy. Re-educating citizens. London and New York: Routledge Holstein, J.A. and Gubrium, J.F. (2000) The self we live by. Narrative identity in a postmodern world. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press Roe, E. (1994) Narrative policy analysis. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Somers, M. & Gibson, G. (1994) Reclaiming the epistemological ‘other’: narrative and the social construction of identity, in: C. Calhoun (Ed.) Social theory and the politics of identity. Oxford, UK, Blackwell Søreide, G. (2007) The public face of teacher identity: Narrative construction of teacher identity in public policy documents. Journal of Education Policy, 22 (2), 129-46. Van den Hoonaard, D. K. (2013) Telling the Collective Story: Symbolic Interactionism in Narrative Research. Qualitative Sociology Review, 9(3), 32-45
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