Writing global education policy research

Issue 26

“Writing global education policy research”

Stephen Carney

Pages: 30 – 49


This article confronts an absence at the centre of education policy studies which often misses the chance to embody global complexity through open-ended, transgressive or, even, ambivalent approaches to enquiry.Methodologically, such work appears to favour a gaze from above and across space, simplifying subaltern experiences of reform. As an alternative, I discuss privatisation efforts in public education in Nepal by
linking them to global labour markets and mobility, consumer modernity and state formation processes. I suggest that neoliberal tropes such as ‘quality’, ‘effectiveness’, ‘commercialisation’ and privatisation intersect
with and invest other tropes such as freedom and self-determination, happiness, love and belonging. In the particular example provided in the chapter, the capture of public education by business interests may
actually be a more chaotic ensemble of reason, desire, fear and seduction. The interconnections between such phenomena have implications for policy studies but also the broader field of comparative education that continues to struggle with a methodological nationalism that limits the study of education to particular cultures, places and contexts and that takes for granted the subjectivities that emerge within globalising reform movements.

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