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Spaces of Crisis, spaces of conflict: European education and its uneven development Ken Jones Goldsmiths, University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "Spaces of Crisis, spaces of conflict: European education and its uneven development Ken Jones Goldsmiths, University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spaces of Crisis, spaces of conflict: European education and its uneven development Ken Jones Goldsmiths, University of London

2 Themes of the conference papers: Side 1 1.Analysis of aspects of policy orthodoxy and its effects. School performance indicators School choice and spatial segregation Students & worrying about the future Differentiation & inequality Effects of the crisis on schools

3 Side 2 Inclusion and social justice. Justice through inspection Supporting minority belonging Building agency among immigrant mothers Inter-cultural education Diversity and integration in Higher Education Education and Roma and Sinti people

4 A sense of tension Between critical analysis and constructive practice Between the direction of economic, social and educational policy and the values and commitments of educators and researchers. This duality is not only a way of describing a research agenda, but also a way of describing the conditions in which such an agenda is produced. A condition of being both in and against the powerful shaping currents of contemporary academia.

5 Letters and petitions I’ve recently signed against -The visa status of overseas students being checked against their attendance in seminars - Arrest and suspension of students protesting university policies -Selling off the student debt book -Uploading of all files on university computers onto Microsoft cloud servers -Discrepancy between the pay of lecturers, and that of university managements -Outsourcing of cleaners’ work at University of London.

6 The academic and the hydra

7 A name for this many-headed monster? “The term neoliberalism … resonates as a convenient label for describing how and why so many things in Academia seem to suck.” (Banas 2014).

8 Other names The new world order in education (Laval & Weber). A global policy-making project (Moutsios) A globally-structured educational agenda (Dale). Names that outline the main features of the project, and the institutions that have elaborated it.

9 But … We need to discriminate between different aspects of this vast complex of concepts.

10 My particular focus: the political shape of the new order Europe (mainly, the EU) In a long moment of crisis (post-2008) The relationships between states and global policy-making entities The consequences of these relationships for internal political relationships, within national states.

11 Taking issue with Depictions of the ‘European Educational Space’ as a smooth space: “Capital tends towards a smooth space defined by … flexibility, continual modulation, and tendential equalization." (Hardt and Negri 2001: 327)

12 The European Educational Space ‘(We may be facing) a permanent orientation in which a suprastate bureaucracy will predominate and put into place a strategy based on criteria of economic rationality that tends to transform politics into a problem of administration and management’. Novoa 2001: 254

13 The European Educational Space (2) Lawn: (2013) - governance [of education] in Europe is developed through … public-private partnerships, knowledge-based organizations, agencies, associations and markets …. This activity is often out of sight and excludes politics. It thrives among a new elite of technocrats, professionals and academics, with expert knowledge or skills … They meet in associations or through projects or networks. They are solving problems, problems in the governing of Europe, through the collection, classification, and analysis of data, the parallel creation of standards or the accumulation of knowledge about problems and development.’ (Lawn 2013).

14 Distinguish between The self-representation of ‘Europe’ – in policy documents. and The critique of this self-representation, in some academic analysis. and Another dimension of policy-making in Europe, in which questions of force and coercion (particularly through economic power) are significant.

15 In this talk I emphasise the third of these elements: -it tends to be neglected in accounts of European policy-making. -post-2008, it has emerged as a powerful influence – constraining some kinds of policy, enabling others.

16 Three organisations OECD IMF EU (European Commission) The latter two part of the ‘troika’ that has supervised the consequences of financial crisis in the European South.

17 OECD to Greece “Greece must move from a highly centralised and fragmented system of input controls toward a more flexible system in which the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs focuses on responsibility and accountability for performance. Changes in the education system must be made within the framework of overall national directions. Fundamental changes in budgeting and finance, as well as in the structure of national, regional and local governments, are likely to accelerate as a consequence of the economic crisis. This, in turn, will affect the government’s human resource capacity at the school, institution, regional and national levels.” (OECD 2011)

18 Christine Lagarde angers Spain with repeat prescription of austerity. (Guardian 3 rd March) IMF head urges Madrid to keep on shaking up the labour market, raising taxes and deregulating business.

19 European Commission: memo to Portugal (2011) “Reduce costs in the area of education, with the aim of saving EUR 195 million by rationalising the school network by creating school clusters; lowering staff needs; centralising procurement; and reducing and rationalising transfers to private schools in association agreements. …”

20 Greece, Spain, Portugal Suggest that the European Educational Space needs to be understood as organised through conflict, in a period when ‘crisis’ is utilised as an opportunity for restructuring.

21 A second problem of representation: ‘convergence’ ‘The crisis of 2008 represented a break in the long-run convergence trends in the European Union, with a loss of convergence dynamics, as parts of Europe began to drift away from each other … This divergence with regard to key variables for promoting the fundamental objectives of European integration, such as economic progress, increased economic and social cohesion, and the creation and maintenance of an economic and monetary union, is of great concern as these variables are inherent in all the aspirations and thinking relating to European integration to date’. (European Trade Union Institute 2013).

22 From this perspective 1.‘Crisis’ and ‘austerity’ interrupt a long-term process of convergence around norms of educational and social provision. 2.There is a problem of uneven development that the EU has dealt with through various policy instruments – the Open Method of Co- ordination, the meetings of experts described by Lawn, meetings of Education Ministers through the European Council.

23 A different perspective “The space of Europe needs to be thought in terms of relationships of domination and subordination, as power over macro-economic policy is force-migrated from the national level to the conference rooms of Brussels and Strasbourg. In this context, it is possible to speak of a process of uneven development which is antagonistic and competitive: the advantages accruing to some member states in the process of Europeanisation are gained at the expense of others.” (Jones 2013)

24 In this context There is policy convergence, as national educational frameworks are remade to EU/OECD specifications. At the same time, there are fractures and conflicts within national states, as significant social forces experience the negative effects of ‘reform’.

25 The educational politics of the neo- liberal period -Are thus those of uneven and combined development -‘Uneven’ because policies developed at a European level have differential effects on European states – e.g. fiscal policy, in relation to Greece. -‘Combined’ because changes in law and policy at the level of the national state activate significant counter-mobilisations.

26 In a situation of uneven development Elements with different provenances do not simply co-exist. They overlap, fuse and merge in dynamic ways, generating socially explosive situations. (Bieler 2013). How does this principle work in contemporary Europe, and contemporary conflicts over European education?

27 A narrative (1) The ‘pacts’ between transnational institutions and national political classes willing to carry out their programme have had the effect of cancelling the gains won in the period since the fall of fascist or authoritarian regimes in the 1940s and the 1970s: opportunity through higher education, curriculum and pedagogic reform.

28 A narrative (2) Responses of national governments to international economic regimes call into question issues of national sovereignty, and provoke oppositional responses on the part of large sections of the population. the politics of European education, particularly in the South, are shaped by such conflicts

29 Anna Diamontopoulou: ‘We can change Greece’ ‘The multifaceted and multi-layered crisis that we experience can become the catalyst for change of our timeless problems. I am deeply convinced that the time has come. The Prime Minister has put education as the dominant priority of the national plan for the regeneration of the country.’ Minister of Education: statement in OECD (2011)

30 Responses (1)

31 Responses (2): ‘Greek Education system on the brink of collapse’ “By 2016, education spending will have been cut by 47 per cent … The ETUCE also calls on the government of Greece to improve social dialogue in the education sector. “At present, provisions are passed without proper consultation with social partners. This harsh and authoritarian approach cannot continue.” The ETUCE is protesting against the surge in privatisation in vocational education in Greece and reminds the Greek government that free, high quality public education with equal access is the most effective path towards a prosperous society. (European Trade Union Committee on Education 2013)

32 A second protagonist If the first significant response to the remaking of European education is that of education workers, a second is that of youth. Unemployment Underemployment [‘Denied the promise of a certain kind of social position’ (Mikko Aro)]

33 Youth unemployment: ‘the scariest graph in the world just got scarier’ Atlantic Monthly May 2013

34 Political consequences, include French protests against youth employment law (2005) L’Onda (Italy 2008-2009) Los indignados (Spain 2011 - ) Involvement of both ‘precarious’ groups, and public sector workers. (Jones 2009, Durgan and Sans

35 And A delegitimation of mainstream political parties. The emergence of Syriza in Greece, the Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal the indignados, and other mass protests the populist 5 Star movement’and ‘forconi’ movements in Italy.

36 Moving, finally, to the north Britain’s uneven and combined development Deindustrialisation and financialisation London - a ‘world city’ and ‘the rest’ Educational effects – ‘world class’ and the ‘long tail of underachievement’. The most ‘advanced’ and among the most backward. England and Scotland: the politics of uneven development.

37 In summary What are the global and national politics of neo-liberalism? How should we understand the European Educational Space? How do we explain, interpret and predict educational and social conflicts?

38 Bibliography Bieler, A. (2013) ‘ The EU, Global Europe, and processes of uneven and combined development: the problem of transnational labour solidarity’ Review of International Studies, 39, pp 161-183 Jones, K. (2009) ‘Patterns of Conflict in Education: France, Italy, England’ in A. Green (ed) ‘Blair’s Educational Legacy: 13 Years of New Labour’ New York, Palgrave Jones, K. (2013) ‘Introduction’ to K. Jones (ed) ‘Education in Europe: the politics of austerity’ London, RadicalEd Novoa, A. (2000) ‘The Restructuring of the European Educational Space’ in Lewis et al ‘Rethinking European Welfare’ London, Sage Lawn, M. (2013) ‘The Understories of Education: the contemporary life of experts and professionals’ Sisyphus – Journal of Education 1(1) 18-35. Banas, E. (2014) ‘It’s the instrumentalism, stupid’ LSE Blog http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/01/27/its-the-neoliberalism-stupid-kansa/ http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/01/27/its-the-neoliberalism-stupid-kansa/ Hardt, M. and Negri, T (2000) ‘Empire’ Harvard University Press OECD (2011) Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Education Policy Advice for GREECE, Paris, OECD European Commission (2011) Portugal: memorandum of understanding on specific economic policy conditionality. http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu_borrower/mou/2011-05-18-mou-portugal_en.pd http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu_borrower/mou/2011-05-18-mou-portugal_en.pd Aro, M. (2013) ‘Educational inflation and social justice’ Paper for Nordic Centre of Excellence, Justice through Education in the Nordic Countries


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