Policy networks in education : The role of education trade fairs in the governance of education

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Policy networks in education : The role of education trade fairs in the governance of education

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Title Policy networks in education : The role of education trade fairs in the governance of education
Author Player-Koro, Catarina ; Bergviken Rensfeldt, Annika ; Jobér, Anna
Date 2019
English abstract
This paper will present substantive findings from an event ethnographic study of one large Scandinavian educational technology (ed-tech) trade fair, SETT. Educational fairs and events have become important arenas and policy nodes for an increasing global ed-tech market where products and ideas become demonstrated, promoted and sold and where (inter)national networks of public and private policy actors intersect with local school systems, schools and teachers (Ball 2012). As these event have become integral parts of policy interpretation and translation, they also transform crucial aspects of education (Ball 2016; Menashy 2016). The question is therefore what and how educational ideas and visions are framed through the event? Following this, Is it possible to track any coherent vision/politic of education among the various actors at the event? What role do the different actors believe they have? In relation to each other, to education, to teachers? These questions are addressed through an (event) ethnographic study of one ed-tech trade fair in Sweden. The study is, part of and informed by two larger ethnographic projects, based in two universities. The first project concerns a threeyear ethnographic study of these annual events. This bigger project has analysed and mapped the formation and different aspects of the ed-tech policy networks through the use of networked ethnographic methods (PlayerKoro 2014; Player-Koro and Bergviken Rensfeldt 2017). The second project is a three-year ethnographical investigation of historicizing the present, when studying how private ‘edupreneurial’ actors and logics change the conditions for what counts as good education in Sweden. This particular study explores the 2018 SETT show in Malmö. The paper draws on detailed ethnographic accounts of different actors’ participation in the exhibition hall at the event. The aim, as in most ethnographic studies, is by participating in the event, talking and listening to different actors, to offer a rich means of developing knowledge about the meaning-making processes of actors’ policy enactment (Beach 2010) represented by different schools, businesses, trade unions and government actors. The main finding is that regardless of the sector the actors represent there are not any indepth ideas about society, school or education expressed. Instead the driving force and the main messages are local and expressed in terms of: a) Private actors – their own product b) Trade Unions – their own message c) Municipalities – local school government and their own accomplishments d) Governmental structures (The Swedish Institute for Educational Research and The National Agency of Education) - the mission, their reports Our conclusion is that this creates an atomistic educational policy governance space with blurred boundaries and a complex network, driven by business ideas and economical agendas rather than social ideas about what education should be for the individual, society and democracy. Few studies have scrutinized this kind of educational arena where educational policymaking is taking place, as we argue, in the wake of a neoliberal economic reorganization of the public sector. Ethnographic approaches offer rich opportunities for exploring this arena where educational policy is formed, transformed and disseminated.
Conference
Oxford Etnography and Education Conference (9-11 Sept, 2019 : Oxford, United Kingdom)
Link http://www.ethnographyandeducation.org/conferences/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OEEC-Abstracts-2019-FINAL.pdf .Icon
Language eng (iso)
Subject Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/30030 Permalink to this page
Link http://www.ethnographyandeducation.org/conferences... (external link to related web page)
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