23 SES 06 A, Europe and Beyond
Parallel Paper Session
The main research question is to explore:
What are the subjectivities made available by the assemblage of policies around the participation of citizens in decision-making about schools and how are these brought into being?
In considering citizens, we are looking beyond the engagement of parents or those working directly in education to the wider public. The research will draw on case studies from Chile and England and has the following objectives:
1. To identify the assemblage of policies linked to the participation of citizens in decision-making about schools in England and Chile.
2. To analyse, within selected policy documents, the subjectivities made available.
3. To explore actual contexts in which those policies are enacted to look at the modes of governance that operate.
4. To reflect upon the subjectivities taken up (individually and collectively) by citizens who participate in decision making spaces.
We understand policies as consisting in systems of symbols and values as well as ways of accounting for and legitimising political decisions (Ball, 2008). It is important to note that policies entail the delimitation of ‘appropriate’ responses on the part of individuals operating in a given field, constituting, in turn, a range of possible subjectivities that enable as much as constrain actors within a that field. Policies then, will be approached as both discourse and as text (Ball, 2006 ).
In response to the conference theme of ‘Freedom’, the paper will explore the limited subject positions made possible by the assemblage of policies related to public participation in decision-making about schools. We will raise questions about what appears to be a constrained range of available subjectivities. Considering the concern that "'unhyphenated citizens' struggled to find a position from which to speak’ (Davies, Barnett and Wetherell, 2006, p. 197), we intend to explore whether there are possibilities for citizen subjectivities which are not hyphenated as citizen-consumer or citizen-expert. In looking at subjectivities, we will explore their concomitant knowledges (Foucault, 1998 ) and how particular knowledges are privileged through policy discourse.
We will explore committees, councils and school governing bodies, in which the design of the participation itself may constitute a statement about what is understood as ‘public’, not only because some people are invited and some are ignored but also because the strategy of gathering opinions and how that information is processed may reflect an understanding of what sort of participation is expected from ´the public’ during policy making processes. We will consider how the forms of knowledge produced in these instances of participation relate to the mechanisms to legitimate certain knowledges over others, producing a particular form of public sphere (Elshtain, 1997; Weintraub, 1997).
This research is based on work in Chile and in England. Chile is significant as it has gone further than other countries in opening up its education system to private providers, including a majority of for profit institutions (Valenzuela, 2009). England is significant as policy innovations there are frequently exported (Ball, 2007).
Ball, S. (2006 ). 'What is Policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes'. In S. Ball (Ed.), Education policy and social class: the selected works of Stephen J. Ball (pp. 43-53). London: Routledge. Ball, S. (2007). Education plc: understanding private sector participation in public sector education. London: Routledge. Davies, C., Barnett, E. and Wetherell, M. (2006). Citizens at the centre: deliberative participation in healthcare decisions. Bristol: The Policy Press. Elshtain, J. (1997). 'The displacement of politics'. In J. Weintraub and K. Kumar (Eds), Public and private in thought and practice: Perspectives on a grand dichotomy (pp. 1-42). Chicago: University of Chicago Press Chicago. Foucault, M. (1998 ). The Will to Knowledge: The history of sexuality: 1. (R. Hurley, Trans.). London: Penguin. Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative researching. (2nd Ed.). London: Sage. Valenzuela, J., Bellei, C., De los Ríos, D. (2009). 'Evolución de la Segregación socioeconómica de los estudiantes chilenos y su relación con el financiamiento compartido', Evidencias para políticas públicas en educación. Chile: FONIDE, Ministerio de Educación. Weintraub, J. (1997). 'The theory and politics of the public/private distinction'. In J. Weintraub and K. Kumar (Eds), Public and private in thought and practice: Perspectives on a grand dichotomy (pp. 1-42). Chicago: University of Chicago Press Chicago. Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (2009). Methods of critical discourse analysis. (2nd ed. Ed.). London: SAGE.
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