23 SES 10 B, Theorizing Educational Boundary Work
A spectre of financial crisis haunting Europe. In some countries, such as the UK, Greece and Spain, harsh austerity measures are further accelerating the impact of neo-liberal policies: new managerialism, an audit culture, performativity and crises of professional identity. This paper considers ways in which these developments generate particular forms of educational work within and across boundaries of time. In doing so, it draws on critical theorisations of time by Pierre Bourdieu, David Harvey and others to challenge philosophical notions of time as a ‘given’ internal or external context for human action; and instead considers time as a phenomenon generated by human action. It focuses on tensions between different time orders, as the spectre of abstract clock time – driven by exchange-values – haunts concrete process time – driven by use-values of human need. It analyses two case studies of educational work supporting young people’s school-to-work transitions, in England – where this service was one of the first hit hard by austerity – and in Germany, with somewhat less unfavourable funding conditions. Both reveal resistance by practitioners to policy pressures reshaping the boundaries of time in their work, highlighting crucial issues for public debate, policy formation and professional practice.
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