23 SES 04 A, Public Debate and Education Policy
Parallel Paper Session
Recently, a lot has been written about the changed relationship between the government and the public sector in diverse European member states. This research topic started to flourish in the nineties with authors such as Cruikshank (1999), Daun (2001), Dean (1999), Olssen, Codd & O’Neil (2004) indicating that society leans more and more towards the neoliberal range of ideas by means of an increasing familiarity of economical thinking in policy contexts. Numerous authors assume that this has led to a changed relationship between the government and the educational field, labelled as ‘a withdrawing government’ (de Kam & de Haan, 1991), ‘a post-welfare state’ (Larner, 2000), ‘a neoliberal state’ (Dale, 1997; Olssen, Codd & O’Neil, 2004), ‘an advanced liberalism’ (Dean, 1999; Haahr, 2004; Rose, 1996) and is characterized with processes of ‘decentralization’ (Dale, 1997), ‘deregulation’ (Fuhrman & Elmore, 1995), ‘(output) control’ (Dean, 1999) and ‘coordination’ (Haahr, 2004). Although this (changed) relationship has already been investigated within education research in several ways and from diverse perspectives, little attention is paid neither towards the governmental instruments nor towards the relation between parents and the educational field. This study takes up this challenge and starts from a particular governing instrument in Flanders, the educational magazine ‘Klasse voor Ouders’ (Klasse for Parents), which is a communication project of the Ministry of Education of the Flemish Government which aims at increasing the involvement of parents within education by passing them particular information. Although the claimed neutral, informative character and purpose, we assume ‘Klasse voor Ouders’ to do more. We argue that it mobilizes parents to participate in a well-defined way in the world of education by using specific documentaries, good practices, list with tips and tricks, advice, etc. Through a specific ‘order of discourse’ and thus through what is said and written, we believe that a particular educational reality is created. This reality can be seen as a space for thinking, speaking and acting in a particular way (Simons & Masschelein, 2006) and thus as a space were specific actions are imaginable, possible and obvious and others are not. In this reality, parents and the government are ‘positioned’ and thus asked to look at themselves, to act and to interrelate in a well-defined way. Therefore, we assume ‘Klasse voor Ouders’ to be part of the educational policy, to interfere significantly with the educational practice and thus to ‘steer’ in a particular way, it is to say, through the ‘order of discourse’.
The central research questions for this study are:
- What discourses, genres and characters can be distinguished in ‘Klasse voor Ouders’ and what is the ‘order of discourse’ that emerges?
- How are the parent and the government positioned through the ‘order of discourse’ in ‘Klasse voor Ouders’?
Cruikshank, B. (1999). The will to empower: Democratic citizens and other subjects. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Daun, H. (2001). Educational restructuring in the context of globalization and national policy. S.I.: Routledge Falmer. Dale, R. (1997). The state and the governance of education: An analysis of the restructuring of the state-education relationship. In A.H. Halsey, H. Lauder, P. Brown & A. Stuart Wells (Eds.), Education. Culture, Economy and Society (pp. 273-282). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dean, M. (1999). Global Governmentality. Power and Rule in Modern Society. London: Sage. De Kam, C.A., & De Haan, J. (1991). Terugtredende overheid. Realiteit of retoriek? Schoonhoven: Academic Service. Fairclough, N. (1997). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. London: Longman. Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing discourse. Textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge. Fuhrman, S.H., & Elmore, R.F. (1995). Ruling Out Rules: The Evolution of Deregulation in State Education Policy. Unpublished research report, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. (retrieved from ERIC). Haahr, J.H. (2004). Open co-ordination as advanced liberal government. Journal of European Public Policy, 11, 209-230. Larner, W. (2000). Post-Welfare State Governance: Towards a Code of Social and Family Responsibility. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 7 (2), 244-265. Olssen, M., Codd, J., & O’Neill, A.-M. (2004). Education policy: Globalization, citizenship, democracy. London: Sage. Rose, N. (1996). Governing “advanced” liberal democracies. In A. Barry, T. Osborne & N. Rose (Eds.), Foucault and political reason. Liberalism, neo-liberalism and rationalities of government (pp. 37-64). London: University College London Press. Simons, M., & Masschelein, J. (2006). The Learning Society and Governmentality: An introduction. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38 (4), 417-430. Verckens, A., Simons, M., & Kelchtermans, G. (2010). Een kritische discoursanalyse van het tijdschrift Klasse: Ontwikkelen van een analytisch kader. Pedagogische Studiën, 87, 183-201.
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