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Education and Political Theory: Prospects and Points of View

Raaper, Rille and Olssen, Mark (2016) Education and Political Theory: Prospects and Points of View In: Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer, Singapore, pp. 1-5. ISBN 978-981-287-532-7

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Education, philosophy, and politics can be seen as the tripos in Western tradition, defining the canon and practices of political and educational institutions (Peters 2012). In the light of recent educational research, it could also be argued that the relationship between politics and education is gaining particular popularity. Various international journals such as Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Journal of Education Policy, and Critical Studies in Education confirm these trends in scholarly discussions. Furthermore, many critical theorists see themselves grounded in Paulo Freire’s (1921–1997) work on the political nature of education, particularly made visible in his collection The Politics of Education: Culture, Power and Liberation (1985).

However, the field of politics of education is highly diverse, often depending on a theoretical approach taken. Some go back to Plato, Aristotle, and Ancient Greek philosophies or find guidance from Enlightenment theories and the work of such scholars as John Locke (1632–1704), Jean- Jacques Rousseau (1712–1788), or Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Others might focus on more recent economic theories of Marxism, human capital theory, meritocracy, or philosophical movements of post-structuralism and postmodernism. The theories of Michel Foucault (1926–1984) and Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) are particularly widespread in contemporary perspectives on political nature of education. However, the differences in political research are not only limited to theoretical approaches taken, but they vary depending on the questions asked. Some educational studies explore macro-politics of education: educational politics and policy making at global and national levels. These studies tend to be interested in the ways in which political decisions and strategies are developed and how these could be improved. However, Simons et al. (2009a) also argue that educational research is increasingly shifting from macro questions related to economic and organizational theories to critical policy studies in which the focus turns to micro-politics of education inside and outside educational institutions. These researchers distance themselves from the kind of educational research that was aiming to improve existing policy mechanisms, and they rather examine policies and politics in relation to social context, power, and experiences (Simons et al. 2009a). In short, critical studies have brought educational research closer to micropolitics in which the political concepts of power, autonomy, freedom, and resistance receive increasing attention.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Raaper, Rille
Editors :
Peters, Michael A.
Date : 30 April 2016
DOI : 10.1007/978-981-287-532-7_251-1
Uncontrolled Keywords : Educational Research; Political Theory; Gender Inequality; Feminist Theory; Human Capital Theory
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 18 Jul 2018 10:43
Last Modified : 19 Jul 2018 08:05

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