23 SES 03 C, Policymaking and Reforms in Education (2)
The increased intensity of reform during the late 1990s has accentuated questions of how to understand and conceptualise the governing of the educational field. New infrastructures were built up beside old ones and the role of transnational, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) increased, also when it came to such national concerns as education. Lawn & Lingard (2002) speak about the EU in terms of such a European policy field where the common goal of making Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, launched by the European Council in theLisbonstrategy in the year 2000 played an important role. But the lack of success in steering the member states towards the objectives set up by the European Council soon led to an emerging crisis discourse within the EU (Robertsson 2008; Nordin 2011). Also in the Swedish context a crisis discourse emerged during the last decade where Swedish children were said to fall behind other comparable countries in knowledge assessments such asPISA, TIMSS and PIRLS (Nordin 2012). In this paper the crisis discourse will bee analysed in order to find out to what extent and in what ways it is used as a way to legitimise educational reforms within the EU and inSweden. I will also discuss what implicit ideas of time, choices and standardised procedures that are embedded in the discourses and what specific conditions they create.
Discursive institutionalism (Schmidt, 2008) is used as an overall theoretical framework. Schmidt (2008) makes a distinction between a coordinative and a communicative discourse. The coordinative where policy actors such as government officials, policy consultants, experts, lobbyist and others coordinate policy ideas as members of transnational epistemic communities sharing a set of cognitive and normative ideas of education. The communicative discourse takes place in the public sphere and involves “the presentation, deliberation and legitimation of political ideas to the general public” (Schmidt 2008, p 310). Discourse matters, so to speak, because it elaborates ideas and persuades others of the necessity and/or the appropriateness of a given course of action. As a complement to the coordinative and communicative discourse the concept of Europeanization (Lawn & Lingard, 2002; Grek & Lawn, 2009; Lawn, 2011) is also used in order to enable an analysis that looks into the relationship between the EU and the nation-state and to what extent and in what ways the two policy arenas converge and/or diverge.
Chouliaraki, Lilie & Fairclough, Norman (1999). Discourse in late modernity. Rethinking critical discourse analysis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh university press. Grek, Sotiria & Lawn, Martin (2009). A Short History of Europeanizing Education. European Education, 41(1), 32-54. Lawn, Martin (2011). Standardizing the European education policy space. European Educational Research Journal, 10(2), s 259-272. Lawn, Martin & Lingard, Bob (2002). Constructing a European Policy Space in Educational Governance: the role of transnational policy. European Educational Research Journal, 1(2), s 290-307. Nordin, Andreas (2011). Making the Lisbon strategy happen. A new phase of lifelong learning discourse in European policy? European Educational Research Journal, 10(1), s 11-20. Nordin, Andreas (2012). The politics of knowledge – A study of knowledge discourses in Swedish and European education policy. Linnaeus University Dissertations No97/2012. Reisigl, Martin (2008). Analyzing political rethoric. . I: Wodak, Ruth & Krzyzanowski, Michal (Eds.). Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the social sciences. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Robertson, Susan, L. (2008). Embracing the global: Crisis and the creation of a new semiotic order to secure Europe’s knowledge-based economy. I: Jessop, Bob, Fairclough, Norman & Wodak, Ruth (Eds.). Education and the Knowledge-based economy in Europe. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Schmidt, Vivien (2008). Discursive Institutionalism: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse. Annual Review of Political Science, 11, s 303-326.
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