28 SES 04, The Post-Comprehensive School and the Transformation of the Welfare State
Parallel Paper Session
The paper focuses on the recent change of Italian Education System, addressing some key questions:
· how far we are witnessing a significant shift towards a new mode of governance, involving the reconfiguration of the complex relationships between the schools, the state, the local governments, the students and their families, other public and private actors;
· which is the interplay between those changes in the governance settlement, the re-shaping of curriculum, the (de)structuring of common schooling, the shifts in the mechanisms of evaluation.
First, drawing on the work of leading theorists in the field of governance theory and, above all, on the analytical model provided by Newman (2001, p. 34-36), we have adopted a heuristic framework in order to map the processes of change and describe in details the conflicting or overlapping boosts towards new modes of governance, the design of new pedagogical models (Bernstein, 1996), the structuring of new mechanisms of control (Ball, 1994; 2008). The framework was the result of the intersection between two analytical continuums: a) the one bewteen centralisation and decentralisation of forms of power; and b) the one between internal (endogenous) and external (exogenous) change.
Second, the article addresses the ideologies struggling to structure the discursive domains of politics and policy-making in education policy field, setting the values and the aims to be pursued, the problems to be addressed, the strategies and the solutions to be used. A specific reference will be made to the international and national education debates, that were structuring, in a foucauldian sense, the educational domains of validity, normativity and actuality (Foucault, 1972, p. 68). These domains are the frameworks of meaning within which truth and falsehood of any policy statement is discussed, certain statements are excluded or marginalized as well as policy problems and their solutions are thought and enacted by education policy-makers and professionals. Then, in describing the shifting scenario of educational governance in Italy, a close attention will be paid to the consensus and the controversies around the aims of education, the structuring of the curriculum, the knowledge to be imparted to learners, the ways learning has to be assessed, the level of participation to be pursued. Regarding each of the above points, the dominant discourses will be focused on, highlighting at the same time their opposites (Ball, 2006).
Ball, S.J., (1994), Education Reform. A Critical and Post-Structural Approach, Buckingham, Open University Press. Ball, S.J., (2006), Education Policy and Social Class, London, Routledge. Ball, S.J., (2008), The Educ ation Debate, Bristol, Polity Press. Bernstein, B., (1996), Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity, Revised Edition, Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield. Foucault, M., (1972), The Archaeology of Knowledge, London, Tavistock Publications. Newman, J., (2001), Modernising Governance, London, Sage. Strauss, A., Corbin, J., (1990), Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, Thousand Oaks, Sage.
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