Understanding Different Stakeholders and Converging-Diverging Agendas in Education across Europe (and beyond) through History of Education Lenses
For centuries a variety of stakeholders have concerned themselves with education. Histories of education, then, help understand contestations and conflicts as well as compromises between stakeholders, approaches, and agendas. They thereby offer insights into the expectations, prescriptions and reconciliations regarding education and its developments. A key perspective is that of different communities or interest groups, their modi operandi, rivalries, and alliances.
Network 17 invites proposals for the European Conference on Educational Research in Geneva, Switzerland in the form of papers, panels, roundtables, workshops, and posters. NW17 is open to any contributions related to the overall conference theme.
For centuries various stakeholders (incl. church leaders, charitable organisations, politicians, industrialists, economists, women’s societies and educationalists) working on a global, international, national, regional and/or local level have concerned themselves with the organisation, expansion, and development of education. Education has thereby come to be regarded as a fulcrum for societal change and improvement (Labaree 2012; Popkewitz & Lindblad 2004; Smeyers & Depaepe 2008; Tröhler 2020). Histories of education, then, tell tales of contestations and conflicts but also compromises between stakeholders, approaches and priorities in terms of expectations, prescriptions and reconciliations regarding education and its developments.
Historical perspectives allow for deeper understandings of the different communities or interest groups in education and their modi operandi, rivalries, and alliances.
Historical examples of the importance of different interest groups or ‘communities of interest’ and their various agendas and approaches to education abound. Thus, one could think of such stakeholders or communities of interest at the heart of a variety of education phenomena: from the new schools/progressive education ‘movements’ to curriculum (reform) movements, to political movements including feminist girls’ or women’s education, through to working-class and anti-racist or -colonial movements. Education likewise has served as a vehicle for creating new communities of interest with school systems having helped shape nation-states as ‘imagined communities’ (Anderson 2016) sometimes framed as ‘communities of communities’ to potentially harmful as well as beneficial effects (Myers 2006). Indeed in and through education particular interest groups have also come to be imagined/created as suspect (e.g., Muslim communities in the frame of Prevent in the UK). Incidentally, not only State actors have had a major role in shaping education; also private actors like captains of industry and affiliated networks (Priem & Thyssen 2014) have pursued particular agendas converging and/or conflicting with those of other stakeholders/communities of interest.
The term community tends to imply cohesion: a gluing together, uniting or defining of elements otherwise not amenable to group-based educational policy and action;
a sharing of values, beliefs, culture etc.; (an) inside/rs and outside/rs separated by boundaries. Yet, from the history of education, examples of ‘fractured communities’, or frictions within as much as between communities of interest, are not lacking – ‘Others’ and ‘Selves’ have thus been imagined-created and acted upon along such lines as class, caste, gender, race/ethnicity, dis/ability, language, religion, political conviction, and sexuality. In many instances, convergence/s and divergence/s have characterised within- and cross-community or intra- and inter-stakeholder relations in education. Questions worth pursuing then are, for instance, those of what kind of rivalries, alliances, contestations and reconciliations have over time emerged around certain demands, prescriptions or injunctions in education; of what expectations and interests have historically informed these demands, prescriptions or injunctions and related contestations and reconciliations; of what visual, material, sensory, archival, digital and other dimensions add new perspectives to such phenomena?
Network 17 from its beginnings has developed rather particular interests in the role of visual and other materials in education; emotions, senses, ('new') media including digital ones, etc. It favours contributions engaging with this historiographic tradition.
Iveta Kestere (iveta.kestere(at)lu.lv)
Anderson, B. R. O. (2016). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Revised edition). London/New York: Verso.
Haas, P. M. (1992). Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination. International Organization, 46(1), 1–35.
Labaree, D. F. (2012). School Syndrome: Understanding the USA’s Magical Belief that Schooling Can Somehow Improve Society, Promote Access, and Preserve Advantage. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(2), 143-163.
Myers, K. (2006). Historical Practice in the Age of Pluralism: Educating and Celebrating Identities. In: K. Burrell and P. Panayi (Eds.). Histories and Memories: Migrants and Their History in Britain. London/New York: Tauris Academic Studies, 35-53.
Popkewitz, T. S., & Lindblad, S. (2004). Historicizing the Future: Educational Reform, Systems of Reason, and the Making of Children Who are the Future Citizens. Journal of Educational Change, 5(3), 229–247. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JEDU.0000041042.53119.f5
Priem, K. & Thyssen, G. (2014). Fragmented Utopia: Luxembourgian Industrialists, Intellectual Networks and Social-Educational Reforms between Tradition and Avant-Garde. In: U. Mietzner (Ed.). Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung 2013 (Vol. 19). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt, 106-126.
Smeyers, P., & Depaepe, M. (Eds.). (2008). Educational Research: The Educationalization of Social Problems. Amsterdam: Springer.
Tröhler, D. (2020). National literacies, or modern education and the art of fabricating national minds. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 52(5), 620–635. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2020.1786727