23 SES 11 A, The Privatisation in and of Education in European Countries: The Cases of Italy, Spain, Sweden and England
Philantrophies and private foundations are increasingly acting as key nodes of the policy assemblages through which neoliberal policies are entering the field of education in Italy. In a country where the public school ‘inefficiency’ and ‘resistance to innovation’ are taken for granted nowadays, policy philantrophists-entrepreneurs attempt to lead the way in re-thinking education according to the new globalised economic imperatives. This involves the displacement of new discursive and practical devices, the shaping of new alliances and subjectivities, and harsh institutional struggles. Starting from the ongoing ‘evaluation turn’ of the Italian education system, the paper unravels the complexities of those processes of policy influence. The analysis addresses multiple foci: the emergence of new discourses of education reform and the networks of social interaction involving philantrophists, policy-makers, banks, consultants, unionists and professionals they are rooted in; the generative effects such discourses can have in producing new positions, subjectivies, opportunities; the structural selectivities influencing the processes of mediation through which those discourses influence education policy-making. The paper highlights the first moves of a peculiar process of endogenous privatisation, whose main potential outcomes are both a process of national education policy-making privatisation and a reculturing of education according to a new private-business ethos.
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