Retuning Sociology of Education up?
Contemporary societies are experiencing troubling times. Increasing poverty, the environmental crisis, new migration flows, strengthening political populism, political and economic crises, as well as technological innovations are transforming contemporary capitalism and challenging the democratic establishments. In this context, sociology, including sociology of education, experiences a triple, political, methodological and theoretical crisis (Szelényi 2015). Sociology of education is criticized for being ‘out of tune’ and incapable of deciphering the changes in the space-times of education. This call intends to start a debate about how to revitalize sociology of education, or to employ a musical metaphor, to re-tune it again.
Contemporary societies are experiencing troubling times. Increasing poverty, the environmental crisis, new migration flows, strengthening political populism, political and economic crises, as well as technological innovations are transforming contemporary capitalism and challenging the democratic establishments.
In this context, sociology, including sociology of education, experiences a triple, political, methodological and theoretical crisis (Szelényi 2015). From the early days, sociology of education, was greatly involved in policy advice and advocated for radical social change in education. The status of the discipline has decreased both in academia and policy-making, and sociologically informed educational discourse has been marginalized by economical, psychological and biomedical vocabularies (Seddon 2014).
Today it is often criticised for being ‘out of tune’ and for being incapable of deciphering the changes in the space-times of education. Its critical tone and sensitivity to complexity seems ‘out of steam’. Critical voices from inside argued that sociology of education has become too preoccupied with the research of global processes and transnational expertise and missed out on exploring alternative spaces of knowledge-production and emerging counter-discourses of expertise. We should, therefore, focus on the state of the sociology of education reflexively and start a debate about how to revitalize it, or to employ a musical metaphor, to re-tune it again.
In particular, we would like to invite papers focus on the following issues:
- Europeanization under pressure: How have economic hardship, the global economic crisis and growing social inequalities impacted upon globalization and Europeanization processes? What happens with the European education space in the context of the current political crisis of the EU? What has been, and could be the role of the sociology of education?
- Mobilities, global migration processes and European education: How do European education systems react to the influx of economic migrants and refugees? How have conceptualisations of inclusion, exclusion and risk in sociology of education been challenged by the recent influx of refugees and what categories are being developed to conceptualize global migration processes?
- Datafication, and the algorithmic governance of education: How Europeanization and globalization intersect in the standardization, datafication and digitalisation of education? Is the digital governance of education promoting processes of convergence or divergence in trans-national and intra-national space? What is the contribution of sociology of education to analyse these new modes of governance in education?
More in general, we would like to receive papers proposals that address the above issues and that could contribute to give answers to one or more of the following questions:
- Who is the sociology of education for? How is it possible to engage multiple publics in multiple ways, connecting professional, critical, policy, and public/lay knowledge in the field of education?
- What are the aims of sociology of education in the current scenario? How can we deal with the ‘traditional’ tension between instrumental and reflexive knowledge (Burawoy, 2005)?
- What are the epistemological, theoretical, methodological and thematic challenges that the sociology of education is called to address? What are the different traditions of the sociology of education across Europe?
Burawoy, Michael (2005) For public sociology. American Sociological Review, Volume 70, Issue 1:4–28
Seddon, Terri (2014) Renewing Sociology of Education? Knowledge Spaces, Situated Enactments, and Sociological Practice in a World on the Move. European Education Research Journal. Volume: 13 issue: 1, page(s): 9-25
Szelényi, Iván (2015) The Triple Crisis of Sociology. Contexts. Available at: contexts.org/blog/the-triple-crisis-of-sociology/