The number of participants in ECER 2010 in Helsinki was somewhat lower than the record number of participants the previous year (Vienna). The same applied to Network 23, Policy studies and Politics of Education, which was nevertheless one of the largest networks at the conference. The accepted contributions included 9 symposia, including 1 double symposium and 84 individual papers. The network 23 sessions ran as three parallel tracks (in some instances four parallel tracks) all through the conference. The convenors had been unhappy about the large number of double symposia at the Vienna converende, because this made the programme less flexible for presenters as well as other participants, so den balance between symposia and paper sessions in Helsinki must be regarded as satisfactory.
The large number of contributions calls for much review work. All submissions to the network are assessed by two reviewers, and on the basis of these the link convener makes the final decision. Most of the conveners contributed to the review process, but it was still necessary to recruit some more persons for reviewing as well as for chairing sessions.
The network 23 objectives encourage contributions that consider the historical and cultural construction of contemporary educational formations; highlight the role of power relations (based in class, gender, ‘race’ and other social divisions) in education policy and politics; and engage with EU policy developments.
The themes of the network can be summarized as follows:
- The politics of policy making in education
- Europe, Europeanisation and the politics of globalisation
- Discourses and research politics
- The politics of knowledge and the knowledge-policy relationship
- Religion and Education
- Methodology of policy and politics studies in education
The papers and symposia covered these themes. In contrast to the previous year there were a number of papers the question of religion and education. The impression is also that the contributions in general were in line with the network objectives. Many people participated in the sessions and from all accounts the quality of presentations and discussions was high.
The network business meeting was attended by some 15 persons.