23 SES 01 D, Critical Approaches to Effectivness/ Values in Policy Making in Education
Marketization of education is part in a reformation of education. On the education market consumers as well as providers are making choice about their futures – to survive on the market and invest in education. Sweden was since long a model for comprehensive welfare state education. Since the early 1990s Swedish education was restructured rapidly (OECD, 1998). It was deregulated and marketized including a voucher system and was turned into a model for “neo-liberal” education (Lindblad & Popkewitz, 2004). Important here are the opportunities of comparisons in different ways – for managing the system, for making choices between alternative commodities, for analysis of preferences at work, for understanding the quality of education and schooling and so forth.
The main argument in our paper is that this transition had not only implications for the organization and governance of education – it had an impact on how education was defined and on the significance of schooling in cultural terms – or rather in preferences in dealing with the rationalities of education in different parts of society. Examples of these are many, e.g. the establishment of new organizations of dealing with education, or how education is characterized in mass-media, or how instruments for governing and control are redefined to fit changing preferences in educational rationalities.
We are here using the concept of “styles of reasoning” put forwards in the philosophy of science by Hacking (1992) in order to address such changes. A style of reason is defining its object, what is regarded as valid statements about this object and so forth. We are translating it into education with questions on how different agents are defining it, how they talk about it, and what measures are taken or transformed to define its qualities? If we turn to different agents and institutions and find a coherence in their styles of reason, then we can talk about a cultural change in education. Based on a dynamic nominalistic perspective (Hacking, 1986) we decided to take the temperature of an educational field in Sweden. We made a bricolage of studies in order to capture how education is treated and compared and what that implies for the education culture in Sweden: How education is presented in mass media, how national systems for informing about education is used, and how an institution for an education market is constructed and used.
Hacking, I. (1992): ‘Style’ for historians and philosophers. Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci, Vol 23, No 1, pp. 1-20. Haug, Wolfgang (1986) Critique of Commodity Aesthetics. Appearance, Sexuality and Advertising in Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press & Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Lindblad, S. & Popkewitz, T. (2004). Educational Restructuring: International perspectives on travelling policies. IAP. Lazzarato, Maurizio (2004) From Capital –Labour to Capital-Life, in Ephemera, vol4, nr 3. Palmås, Karl (2011) Prometheus eller Narcissus? Entreprenören som samhällsomvälvare. Göteborg: Korpen Koloni.
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