23 SES 14 A, Doing democracy. Research Perspectives on Risks and Responsibilities within a Marketised Education Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 16 A
Sweden has opened its tax-financed welfare system for profit-making and is today legally, materially, socially and economically opened up to private sector participation, even on a for-profit basis (Beach, 2010). This is part of a global movement of state-restructuring that has led to a fundamental reshaping of the education systems towards markets and economic competition. The restructuring rests on an idea of ‘beneficial’ relations between the state and private actors that means that the process of reforming education create profit opportunities for edu-businesses (Ball, 2018). Sweden’s highly marketized education system has so far focused mainly on preschool, comprehensive school and upper secondary school. So far, we see few private initiatives in place regarding higher education. This paper has one of these opportunities in focus, namely the profit opportunity created through the Swedish school act (2010:800), that is stating that all Swedish "Educational programs” must be based on scientific knowledge and proven experience" (Ch1§5). This act has paved the way for the private research institute iFous Ltd that offer a solution to the ‘problem’ (Bacchi, 2012). The company functions as a broker and connects heads of schools with institutions of higher education in school development projects. This means that for iFous, collaboration between educational researchers and schools is the product that is offered for sale. A product that, according to iFous, is promised to work as the solution for the creation of an educational system based on science and proven experiences. The aim of this study is to shed light on and discuss how private and commercial actors influence and reform the meaning and practices of educational research. In this paper we will present result from an interview study with educational researchers that are involved in research projects initiated by iFous. How do these researchers motivate their participation in iFous's research project? What kind of research questions are stated? What conditions and possibilities do they see in this kind of cooperation?
Ball SJ. (2018) Commericalising education: profiting from reform! Journal of Education Policy 33: 587-589. Beach D. (2010) Neoliberal Restructuring in Education and Health Professions in Europe: Questions of Global Class and Gender. Current Sociology 58: 551-569. Bacchi, C. (2012) Why Study problematizations? Making Politics Visible. Open Journal of Political Science. 2(1), 1-8.
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