NW 28: Europeanization and Globalization: Competing or interdependent concepts in sociological work?

NW 28: Europeanization and Globalization: Competing or interdependent concepts in sociological work?


Globalization and Europeanisation are important concepts for sociologists of education, but globalization dominates the field, drawing on sociological engagement with its effects on structures and societies, and locating education within debates about transnational policy, its new forms, its key actors and its effects. Sociological studies of Europeanisation in education maintain a focus on the ‘project' of Europe, while also examining the positioning of Europe and European education about global pressures. This call supports an assessment of the globalization-Europeanisation relationship in the field, aimed at clarifying the difference and identifying productive interplay, at a critical juncture for education in Europe.


The sociologies of education have responded with energy to the challenges of understanding globaliztion and its effects, producing a significant literature to stand alongside developments in political science, in the parent discipline of sociology, and in economics. Europeanisation studies in education (Lawn and Grek 2012; Grek 2014; Seddon 2014; Landri and Neumann 2014; Lawn and Normand 2015; Normand and Derouet 2017) have been open to global influence, and Europeanization and globalization are often mentioned as inextricably intertwined processes in the literature.

Some research has attempted to scrutinise these interconnections, and disentangle the complex web of transnational, national and local relationships and their interdependencies. At the same time, the European ‘project’ of convergence in education through attraction and ‘soft’ regulation seems to be challenged by global developments, especially the economic crisis and the rise of austerity policies, including those pursued by the European Commission, the resulting disillusion with ‘normal’ politics and cynicism about enlightenment projects, in the face of the influx of refugees from global conflicts and of labour migrants searching for employment in increasingly uncertain and risky labour markets.

In this context, it is timely to review and reconsider, from a variety of sociological perspectives, what we know about the interaction of globalization and Europeanisation in education, and to develop conceptualizations of the complex interplay between globalization and Europeanization, that enable us to both theorise and investigate empirically the ways in which they interact. Can we identify processes that promote divergence across national, regional and transnational education policy spaces, and if so, are their points of reference European, global or national?

The network invites proposals addressing the following themes:

  • Global concepts, travelling data, global networks: How do ideas, tools, conceptual frameworks, resources and actors circulate between the European and the global policy space? How do emerging functional and scalar divisions of the labour of educational governance produce different enactments of global concepts (Dale and Robertson 2009)? How does the politics of the European Union support, shape or determine global forces in education? How are the categories of inclusion and exclusion being fabricated in the interplay of global forces and European policy-making?
  • The rescaling of policy: What new relationships are formed across sub-national, national, regional and global spaces? How are Europe and European experts integrated into or shape global networks of education policy making (such as translational policy makers and advocacy networks, new philanthropy, edu-businesses)? (Ball and Junemann 2012)
  • Processes of inclusion and exclusion in global and European education systems: How have economic hardship, the global economic crisis and growing social inequalities impacted upon globalization and Europeanization processes?
  • 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 been challenged by the recent influx of refugees and what categories are being developed to conceptualize global migration processes?
  • Standardization, datafication and digital governance of education (Williamson 2016): To what extent do 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? How do ‘big data’ prompt new modes of governance in education?

Contact person(s)

Paolo Landri <link window for sending>(p.landri@irpps.cnr.it)

Eszter Neumann (<link window for sending>Neumann.Eszter@tk.mta.hu)


Ball, Stephen J. and Carolina Junemann 2012. Networks, New Governance and Education. Bristol: Policy Press.

Ball, Stephen J. 2012. Global Education Inc.: New Policy Networks and the Neoliberal Imagery. London: Routledge.

Dale, Roger and Susan Robertson. 2009. Globalization and Europeanization in Education. Oxford: Symposium Books.

Grek, Sotiria. 2014. “OECD as a Site of Coproduction: European Education Governance and the New Politics of ‘policy Mobilization.’” Critical Policy Studies 8 (3): 266–81. doi:10.1080/19460171.2013.862503.

Landri, Paolo, and Eszter Neumann. 2014. “Mobile Sociologies of Education.” EERJ 13 (1): 1–8. doi:10.2304/eerj.2014.13.1.1.

Lawn, Martin, and Sotiria Grek. 2012. Europeanizing Education: Governing a New Policy Space. Oxford: Symposium Books.

Lawn, Martin, and Romuald Normand, eds. 2015. Shaping of European Education Interdisciplinary Approaches. London: Routledge.

Normand, Romuald, and Jean Louis Derouet, eds. 2017. A European Politics of Education: Perspectives from Sociology, Policy Studies and Politics. London: Routledge.

Seddon, Terri. 2014. “Renewing Sociology of Education? Knowledge Spaces, Situated Enactments, and Sociological Practice in a World on the Move.” European Educational Research Journal 13 (1): 9–25. doi:10.2304/eerj.2014.13.1.9.

Williamson, Ben. 2016. “Digital Education Governance: An Introduction.” European Educational Research Journal 15 (1): 3–13. doi:10.1177/1474904115616630.

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019