Edu-preneurs in the welfare state. On how commercial actors make themselves indispensable through defining problems and offering solutions

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Edu-preneurs in the welfare state. On how commercial actors make themselves indispensable through defining problems and offering solutions

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Publication Conference other
Title Edu-preneurs in the welfare state. On how commercial actors make themselves indispensable through defining problems and offering solutions
Author Ideland, Malin ; Jobér, Anna ; Axelsson, Thom ; Erlandsson, Magnus ; Serder, Margareta
Date 2018
English abstract
Research topic/aim: According to current debates, Swedish schools are experiencing severe problems: decreasing results in international large-scale assessments, increasing segregation, and not preparing students for job markets. This discourse has enabled an apparatus of commercial actors, ‘edu-preneurs’, offering solutions. This paper explores what happens when governing and practicing of education becomes distributed on commercial actors. The aim is to shed light on how educational policy is moved, translated, and fixed in entanglements of public and private rationalities and what this means for understandings of knowledge, teaching, and learning. Theoretical framework: We understand this growing apparatus of edu-preneurs as a result of that a shift in the responsibility of Swedish schooling is taking place (Ball, 2009). ‘Statework’, in terms of educational governance, is now carried out through an assemblage of public and private actors. This shift is understood in a historical context of neoliberalism. With Ball’s (2009) words we can call it a ‘recalibration of the state’, through which the organization of public institutions has changed – but also the meanings and practices of schooling as well as possible subjectivities for teachers and students. Methodological design: Empirically, the paper illuminates what we call the public/private statework through entering three different policy fields: research-based education, digitalization, and entrepreneurship. The data consist of a nethographical mapping of edu-preneurial companies and a close-up analysis of how three companies make themselves up as normalized educational actors. The analysis employs actor-network theory to explore of how the idea of schooling is constructed on the edu-preneurs’ websites through, formulating problems and solutions and enrolling a range of actors into the governing and practices of education. Findings and conclusions: The edu-preneurs made up themselves as taken for granted as actors, first, as defining problems: the Swedish school system is in crisis and in need for help. This is done through explicitly relating to a narrative of teaching as outdated, educational research as ‘fuzzy’ and unpractical, and schools distanced from ‘reality’ and the labour market. In the companies’ solution to this problem, they become important actors through talking about structured work, practical solutions, and modern (digital) ways of teaching. They enrol ‘friends’ into the assemblage in the shapes of education superstars, partner companies, technological devices, and policy bodies. We suggest that the companies translate the idea of schooling and carry with them epistemic implications, as well as a cultivation of desirable subjectivities. Understandings of what is useful ‘research’ as well as ‘important knowledge’ are claimed and limited. Teacher subjectivity is characterized as flexible and effective and the student subjectivity as entrepreneurial. The ideas of what knowledge is, and how teaching and learning should ‘happen’, privilege ‘business-like’ methods. Relevance to Nordic educational research: The Swedish case is interesting in a wider Nordic context since it sheds light on on-going processes in the Nordic countries through which the welfare state is transformed into a market. References: Ball, S. J. (2009). Privatising education, privatising education policy, privatising educational research: network governance and the ‘competition state’, Journal of Educational Policy, 24(1), 83-99.
Conference
NERA 2018 - 46th Congress (8-10 March, 2018 : Oslo, Norway)
Link https://www.nera2018.uio.no/programme/abstracts-book-completed.pdf .Icon
Host/Issue NERA abstract book;
Language eng (iso)
Subject Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/26317 Permalink to this page
Link https://www.nera2018.uio.no/... (external link to related web page)
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