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How are grassroots activists analysing and contesting policy travel? Karin Doolan, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar UNIKE Workshop 3: Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "How are grassroots activists analysing and contesting policy travel? Karin Doolan, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar UNIKE Workshop 3: Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 How are grassroots activists analysing and contesting policy travel? Karin Doolan, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar UNIKE Workshop 3: Policy Travel, Ljubljana, 7-11 July 2014

2 The student activist as policy analyst  „academic researcher, the doctoral student, the policy bureaucrat, the commissioned researcher, the freelance analyst for hire, the consultant researcher, the policy entrepreneur” (Rizvi and Lingard, 2010: 46);  Legitimacy derived from policy analysis training (expert: specialized technical knowledge, professional);  Adding another actor: the „amateur” policy analyst: student activist: legitimacy derived from first-hand experience.

3 Travel of education policy – travel of resistance (International week of action)  Austria (2009), Croatia (2009), California (2009), Ireland (2010), UK (2011), Nigeria (2011), Columbia (2011), Chile (2012), Canada (2012), South Korea (2012), Spain (2013), Italy (2013);  Protests against tuition fees;  Solomon and Palmieri (2011): „resistance against capitalism’s assault on students and the underprivileged”;  „Our long-term goal is to end the neoliberalisation of this society” (Independent Student Initiative, 2009).

4 Critical approach to education policy analysis  The positionality of the analyst needs to be made clear;  Needs to determine how the problem is historically constituted, including broader discursive policy settlements (assumptions built into policy on a temporal dimension);  Needs to take account of globalization processes (large spatial frame);  Suggest how policy could be otherwise: „offer an alternative social imaginary” (Rizvi and Lingard, 2010: 70): social justice;  Supported by empirical evidence.

5 Materials  Croatian case: Skripta: „study notes”;  76 documents: April 20, 2009-October 24, 2011;  1 A3 paper, text printed on both sides;  Student statements, interviews, translations of published texts, important information;  April 20, 2009:  Manifest: declaration + Q&A;  Timetable of events;  Code of conduct;  Direct democracy.

6 Positionality of the student policy analyst in Croatia (Rizvi and Lingard’s call to reflexivity)  Temporal location: 2009, global economic crisis, austerity measures;  Spatial location: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (*Nussbaum, 2010);  Have an explicit normative agenda („articulating our own political demands”);  Raise the issue of whose interests are being served with particular education policies: is it just rather than is it efficient?  Position of the marginalised.

7 Discourse practice: Public-private Education policyResistance Commodification of education.„We will not allow public goods to be transformed into commodities” „Commercialisation is not a value neutral process, it changes the social purpose of educational institutions; to reduce education to profit criteria (in its camouflaged, euphemised variant of „economic efficiency”) means to silently abolish its primary function” „The only public space which is directly accessible to us is that of the public institution in which we are being educated” „The state cannot give over its role to private entrepreneurs because through privatisation the university becomes an institutions primarily oriented to profit- making” „articulating public interest”

8 Discourse practice: Right-privilege Education policyResistance „reckless and socially insensitive taking away of that right” [right to education] „the right to education is a right that belongs to everyone, independently from the financial status of the individual” „silently cancelling the right to education for everyone” UN Declaration on Human Rights

9 Discourse practice: Inclusion-exclusion Education policyResistance „money is a form of social power and a social force; introducing it as a selection criteria means using the mechanisms of social force in order to socially exclude and disable the realisation of an important right” „Equality is not for sale” „such policies lead to further societal fragmentation and polarisation. An even bigger gap is being created between the rich and poor, privileged and marginalised”

10 Social practice Cultural contextResistance „attacking trade unions, social institutions, healthcare etc. labelling them as „socialism”, the alternative being „social darwinism in which individual consumption and shopping centres are supposed to compensate for the abolishment of…collective solidarity” „protecting society from commercialization”; „defending social interests from the socially destructive processes of commercialization and social polarisation according to income” „aggressive representational-media culture of the cult of individualism” „fighting for a more just society”

11 Learning process  Ball (1997): the importance of embedding education in a „set of more general economic and political changes”;  Assertiveness in advocating for change;  Rhetoric: student texts more engaged, more empowering;  Globalisation of education policy/places that matter for policy are dispersed: who is the addressee of resistance (WB, OECD)?  Semi-periphery location(world-systems theory): specificities of the Croatian context (hybridity?);  Clarification of concepts;  Fine-grained empirical analysis?

12 How are grassroots activists analysing and contesting policy travel? Karin Doolan, Department of Sociology, University of Zadar UNIKE Workshop 3: Policy Travel, Ljubljana, 7-11 July 2014


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