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
Education used to be a relatively autonomous field, mainly intertwined with the state and the church but, recently, it has been considered as a commodity and as a global industry (Parreira do Amaral et al. 2019; Verger et al. 2016). This paper focuses on recent privatization developments in Finland. The majority of education providers in Finland are in the public sector, however Finnish authorities and entrepreneurs have increasingly created policies, products, and services resulting in a flourishing business around education. Such initiatives not only supply the domestic market, which often welcomes the newly launched educational technologies, but mostly targets foreign markets that are willing to buy the Finnish education ‘model’ (Seppänen et al. 2019). Yet these developments have entailed an approach to education that incorporates business jargon and attitude, emphasising quick evidence at the expense of thorough research. How the private sector is gaining space in the overwhelmingly public Finnish education system in this way is little researched. Our paper sheds light upon how edu-business events promote the global education industry by investigating discursive formations (Foucault 1989) manifested in the discourses of two major international education events in Finland in 2018. These events are the Dare to Learn, the ‘biggest learning festival in Northern Europe’, aimed to ‘rethinking learning’, and the XcitED, the ‘most exciting EdTech event’, a side-event of Slush, ‘the world’s leading start-up event’. Education, both as a social phenomenon and as an institution, has reflected the changing economic, social and political surrounding contexts of recent decades (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010). These changes involve new modes of governance, which are associated to externalizations of different systems (in Luhmann’s perspective) (Steiner-Khamsi 2012; Schriewer & Martinez 2004), and reflected in education mobility, worldwide comparisons, international rankings, interventions in international relations, and global trade (Mundy et al. 2016). Globalization and global convergence should not be taken for granted for explaining such transformations. It is necessary to analyse how the policies and discourses are formed, shaped and directed (Dale 1999). Our research questions the kind(s) of discourses produced in these events in order to understand how they create and expand markets for education in Finland and across the globe. The data consists of records of speeches from keynotes and panel discussions in both XcitEd and Dare to Learn events. We conclude that commodification of education emerges alongside support of Finnish public education in the discourses of the edu-business events in Finland.
Dale, R. (1999). Specifying globalization effects on national policy: a focus on the mechanisms. Journal of Education Policy, 14(1), 1-17. Foucault, M. (1989). The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Routledge. Mundy, K.; Green, A.; Lingard, B.; Verger, A. (2016). The Handbook of Global Education Policy. Wiley Blackwell. Parreira do Amaral, M.; Steiner-Khamsi, G.; Thompson, C. (2019). Researching the Global Education Industry: Commodification, the Market and Business Involvement. Palgrave Macmillan. Rizvi, F.; Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. Routledge. Schriewer, J.; Martinez, C. (2004). Constructions of internationality in education. In Steiner-Khamsi, G. The Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending. New York: Teachers College Press, 29-53. Seppänen, P., Rinne, R., Kauko, J. & Kosunen, S. (2019). The Use of PISA Results in Education Policy-Making in Finland. In F. Waldow, & G. Steiner-Khamsi (Eds.) Understanding PISA’s attractiveness: Analyses in comparative policy studies. Bloomsbury, 137-159 Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). The global/local nexus in comparative policy studies: analysing the triple bonus system in Mongolia over time. Comparative Education, 48(4), 455-471. Verger, A.; Lubienski, C.; Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2016). The Global Education Industry. World Yearbook of Education. Routledge.
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