NW 28: Diversity and Diversification: One World, Partial Common, or More Worlds of Education?

NW 28 Sociologies of Education

Diversity and Diversification: One World, Partial Common, or More Worlds of Education?

This call addresses the complex transformations that modern education systems have recently been facing. We invite submissions exploring how our common reality gets diversified by political discourses and ask how the discourse of diversity could be problematized. We are also interested in how the structural transformations ensuing the retreat of the welfare state and recent crises impacted education and how critical sociology could contribute to finding new commonalities and a shared sense of social justice in education. These themes are explored in a new format of conferencing with an emphasis on slow conversations and collective debates around a shared theme.

The Call
In recent years, the Covid19 pandemic (EERJ 2021/4-5), the war in Ukraine, strengthening forces of nationalisms (Tröhler, Piattoeva & Pinar, 2022), and mounting concerns about climate emergency have profoundly challenged Europe and the globe. Provoking new challenges to the processes of Europeanization and the globalization of education, these events bring the limits of the modern constitution of education systems and knowledge to the fore (EERJ 2021/1).

Education systems are confronting a severe test of reality. The grammar of schooling is touched by complex transformations: established scenarios about the future of schooling, education, and lifelong learning are widely debated. New educational technologies, public-private relationships, and evidence-based methodologies are presented as new, easily available solutions for the future to come. However, there isn’t an agreement about the likely materialisations and outcomes of these developments. Are education systems and policies moving toward more standardization? Does the diversification of societies necessarily lead to the rule of the market and privatization? Does the shrinking welfare provision and the questioning of commonalities in a polarizing world necessarily lead to the collapse of public education? Will education systems contribute to increasing social fragmentation and to the decline of the idea of European education, or will it be possible to move towards the recognition and multiplication of differences and find some commonalities and a common sense of justice?

We invite submissions that explore the possible roles of the sociology of education in addressing these complex transformations and in searching for commons. From a critical sociological and reflexive perspective, what scenarios would suit a fair society and bearable education for all: one world, partial commons, or plural worlds of education?

The format:

Within the broader theme of diversity and diversification, we organize extended symposia focusing on the below two topics. The idea of the symposia is to work in a new format of conferencing developing slow conversations across a shared theme, for instance, longer sessions with fewer papers allowing for more time per paper or a session starting off with short provocations around a common theme followed by an extended collective debate.

  1. Problematizing the discourse of diversity. This theme troubles the assumed benignity of the discourse of diversity. It asks, for instance, how diversity discourse may produce its “other”, how it might reproduce the status-quo, or whether an eminent multiplication of diversities poses threats of losing commonality.
  2. Diversification of educational markets and accountability systems. Does it mean a retreat or a transformation of the role of the state in education? What is the role of new economic and social actors as well as digital technologies in these processes? How to enhance social justice and find grounds for common goods in the wake of recent crises and ensuing social transformations?

We would like to ask contributors to submit their papers in advance and contact the convenors in charge of the selected topic.

Contact Person(s)
Theme 1. Nelli Piattoeva (nelli.piattoeva(at)tuni.fi) and Eszter Neumann (neumann.eszter(at)tk.hu)
Theme 2. Paolo Landri (paolo.landri(at)irpps.cnr.it)

EERJ 2021/4-5: European Education Research Journal special issue: Education in Europe and the COVID19 pandemic. pp. 393-702.

EERJ 2022/1: European Education Research Journal special issue: What is the ‘public’ in public education? Mapping past, present and future educational imaginaries of Europe and beyond. pp. 3-199.

Tröhler, Daniel, Nelli Piattovea & William F. Pinar (eds.) (2022) World Yearbook of Education 2022. Education, Schooling and the Global Universalization of Nationalism. London: Routledge, 306p.

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019