28 SES 02, Some New Perspectives on European Inequalities
Parallel Paper Session
Aim, Objectives and Focus of the Communication
Historically, sociology of education gained legitimacy through its capacity to analyze inequalities in linking them to some measurable factors as age, sex, social class. For this, it has developed technical tools, knowledge, resources helping sociologists to progressively reach a position of expertise nearby national policy-makers. But, at European level, this conception of inequalities is reformulated today through lifelong learning policies and Open Method of Coordination. Since several years has been worked out new statistical categories and classifications, indicators and benchmarks, international surveys on inequalities. These socio-material assemblages in European public statistics are designed by socio-scientific networks and epistemic communities which contribute to the building of new tools. As a consequence, the measurement of inequalities depends on some individual and collective agents’ capacity to make associations, to produce knowledge, to be recognized as expertise and to be legitimated as sciences of government. To conceptualize this political arithmetic of inequalities, it is also necessary to move away from methodological nationalism and to reflect on these new objects and formats of knowledge and their impact on educational policies.
Perspective(s) or Theoretical Framework
This work is supported by a theoretical work developed in sociology of sciences and political sciences. This research has demonstrated the importance of historical traditions, institutions and sciences in the design of statistical tools and the development of national statistical systems (Desrosières, 2011 , Latour, 2005, Stigler, 1986 ; Porter, 1995 ; Hacking, 1975). They have also underlined the role of expertise and tools of measurement in the regulation of public action and decision-making (Callon et alii, 2009 ; Le Galès 2010).
Boltanski L., Chiapello E., 2007, The New Spirit of Capitalism, London, Elliott Verso Books Callon Michel, Lascoumes Pierre, BartheYannick, 2009, Acting in an Uncertain World. An Essay on Technical Democracy, Cambridge, The MIT Press, coll. “Inside Technology”. Desrosières, A., 2011, « Words and Numbers : For a Sociology of the Statistical Argument », in : Saetnan A.R., Lomell H.M., Hammer S. (eds) : The Mutual Construction of Statistics and Society, Routlege, New-York, pp. 41-63 Hacking I., 1975, The Emergence of Probability. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975 Latour B., 2005, Reassembling the Social – An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Le Galès P., 2010, "Policy instruments and governance", in Mark Bevir (ed.), Handbook of Governance, Sage. Normand, R. (2010a). Expert measurement in the government of lifelong learning. In M. Mangenot & J. Rowell (Ed.), A Political Sociology of the European Union. Reassessing Constructivism (pp. 225-242). Manchester: Manchester University Press. Normand, R. (2010b). Expertise, networks and indicators. The construction of the European strategy in education. European Educational Research Journal, 9(3), 407-421. Porter, T.M. (1995). Trust in Numbers: The pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Stigler, S. (1986). The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press,
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