The policy studies and politics of education network met for the fifth time in Geneva. The wide interest in the network was evident in the large number of proposal submissions as well as in the participants attending our sessions. This year we had 70 proposals for papers and 7 for symposia. Of these, six symposia and 56 paper proposals were accepted.
The symposia were on the following topics:
- The social organisation of education research: a cross-national conversation (2 sessions)
- Comparative studies on professional expertise, authority and work life organisation in education and health (1 session)
- Between affirmation and transformation? Plurivalent knowledge (1 session)
- International diffusion and transfers in education: effects on global, national and regional politics (2 sessions)
- Contemporary Marxist analysis of neoliberal education policy (2 sessions)
- The multicultural question and education in Europe (2 sessions, joint with Network 7)
Individual papers were grouped into thematic sessions. The themes were:
- Curriculum politics
- Adult education
- The research-policy relationship
- Effects of reform on teachers and schools
- Common schooling and selective schooling
- Citizenship and political education
- School governance
- Higher education policy
- Teachers and teacher professionalism
- Education as a site of struggle
- Transforming knowledge, transforming learning
- New modes of policy making
- Gender politics
- Quality discourses and the audit culture
- Policy and pedagogy
- Politics of school choice
The quality of both presentations and discussion was generally considered to be good. Both symposia and paper sessions were very well attended and included audiences of more than 50 people. It was generally felt that the organisation of papers into themes had helped to foster coherence and lively discussion. Only one paper giver failed to turn up without previous notification.
There was a network meeting to discuss ways of developing the activities of the network and to put forward future plans. This meeting was well attended, and included a number of people newly involved in the network.
In this meeting the themes of the next conference were agreed.
We also discussed whether session chairs should be given an enhanced responsibility as critics of the presentations. There was no conclusion about the last point, but the program chair(s) for 2007 may experiment with such a form.
Sharon Gewirtz and Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson