Trends in Four European Countries
This book aims to fill this gap by exploring school evaluation policies in four European countries: England, France, Scotland and Switzerland. It shows that the same policy tool – promoted in many European and international arenas concerned with good practice in educational governance – can actually give rise in each system to a variety of policy configurations in which forms of state control can differ. Written from a policy sociology perspective, the book aims to go beyond the decline/permanence dichotomy and proposes a specific conceptual framework within which to consider both contextualised forms of state intervention and their potential similarities and combinations. By doing this, the authors not only aim to counterbalance or supplement dominant views on the Europeanisation and transnationalisation of education policies but also to imagine new possibilities for state policy analysis.
Chapter 1 Theoretical Approach
The aim of this work is to contribute to a comparative sociology of state recomposition in the education sector (specifically primary and secondary school education). The term “recomposition” refers here to the book edited by Sabino Cassese and Vincent Wright (1996)5 in which various authors have in common to challenge two simplistic visions, in their view, of the evolution of the State.
The first vision tends to conclude the declining of the state in Europe as a result of globalization, regionalization and the revival of local power. We could add to these processes those of Europeanization, commodification and privatization. This vision of inaction and withdrawal of a State without real power, especially popularized by some writings of journalist Susan Strange on economic globalization (1996) – often more nuanced than the uses that have been made – is indeed for some a persistent myth (Weiss, 1998) or even a policy analysis that underestimates the sustainability and continuity of state phenomenon (Du Gay & Scott, 2011). In the education system, this vision, very present, even dominant in contemporary work on governance and education policy6, at least as a starting point for the analysis or as obvious element of context was early criticized by some ← 17 | 18 → experts of state education as Andy Green. He highlights the lack of empirical basis of some theories on globalization of education systems and their entrance into post-modernism and he instead describes the evolution the roles played by...
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