23 SES 07 B, Research Politics and the Knowledge-Policy Relationship II
The push to use ‘evidence’ as the basis for policy making in education has given rise to practices such as ‘evidence-based policy making’ (EBP) and the less forceful ‘evidence-influenced’ and ‘evidence-informed’ policy making. In these practices, ‘evidence’ becomes a mode of organising the world, bringing coherence to inchoate masses, ordering and classifying populations and institutions; according entities particular locations in newly articulated hierarchies and meanings; bringing into being new terms and concepts; and producing ‘knowledge at a glance’ (Chia, 1998, p. 3) that helps to understand and manage education systems. Evidence thus understood becomes a modernising attempt to ‘systematise and technologise the material and social world’ of education (Chia, 1998, p. 7, citing Cooper, 1998).
Technologies of organisation act as world-making processes, visioning and representing the world in specific ways, producing specific objects of knowledge and inquiry, rendering certain actions and understandings meaningful and logical, and creating certainty, order and predictability. Yet these methodologies of production and fabrication themselves remain hidden from view, and the assemblages they produce appear to be natural representations of pre-existing realities.
The understandings of policy issues and ideas currently in vogue in national and transnational education policy making depend heavily on statistical measurement and comparative analysis. Numerical indicators mediate between material realities and the abstractions of science and politics, ‘jumping linguistic boundaries and displacing local knowledge and native informants’ (Cullather, 2007, p. 337). How are these processes helping to link together ‘packages of objects, theories, techniques, measurements, instruments, and social relations’ (Wood, 1998, p. 1222, after Fujimura 1992) to produce coherent assemblages of the policy world? How are they stabilising concepts and ideas across boundaries and creating common vocabularies for debate and discussion (Fujimura, 1992)? How is evidence as an organising technology unfolding in the education policy arena, and to what effect? These are the questions to which this presentation addresses itself.
The ‘education revolution’ ushered in by the Labor government in Australia declares itself to be committed to evidence-based policy making, seeing evidence as neutral, rational and scientific, and even, according the Minister for Education, the opposite of prejudice (The Hon Julia Gillard, Federal Minister for Education, 2008). To facilitate evidence-based policy making, the government has introduced national assessments and the gathering of a variety of data. It therefore provides an exemplary site for tracing how evidence is used as an organising technology to create policy assemblages. Using the conceptual tools provided by the material-semiotic approach of actor-network theory, this study traces the purposeful translation of the chaotic, inchoate world of education, involving tens of thousands of students, schools and teachers into a manageable and manipulable set of data through new metrics of calculation. It follows the logics of the translation of these data into ‘evidence’, and of this ‘evidence’ into policy problems and policy solutions and actions. In so doing, it raises to view the role played by evidence as an organising principle and problematises its assumed representational neutrality.
Chia, R. C. H. (1998). Introduction - Exploring the expanded realm of technology, organization and modernity. In R. C. H. Chia (Ed.), Organized Worlds - Explorations in technology and organization with Robert Cooper. London and New York: Routledge. Cullather, N. (2007). The Foreign Policy of the Calorie. The American Historical Review, 112(2), 337-364. DeLanda, M. (2006). A New Philosophy of Society - Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity. London: Continuum. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1988). A thousand plateaus : capitalism and schizophrenia. London: Athlone Press. Fujimura, J. (1992). Crafting Science: Standardized Packages, Boundary Objects, and "Translation". In A. Pickering (Ed.), Science as Practice and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gillard, J. (2008). Speech at the ACER Research Conference. Paper presented at the ACER Research Conference. Latour, B. (1999a). Give Me a Laboratory and I Will Raise the World New York: Routledge. Latour, B. (1999b). Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (2004). Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern. Critical Inquiry 30 (Winter 2004), 227. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Law, J. (1994). Organising Modernity. Oxford, UK & Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell. Wood, M. (1998). Agency and Organization: Toward a Cyborg-Consciousness. Human Relations, 51(10), 1209-1225.
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
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.