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HomeNeoliberalization of education and the making of territories

Neoliberalization of education and the making of territories

Néolibéralisation de l’éducation et fabrique des territoires

Neoliberalización de la educación y reconfiguración territoriales

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Published on Thursday, August 31, 2023

Abstract

The theme of this issue pursues questions that the journal Espaces et Sociétés has previously raised about the relationship between educational and territorial dynamics. Its originality will therefore consist in documenting the way in which neoliberal dynamics, which run through the education sector from primary to higher education, are contributing to the creation of contemporary spaces, both in peripheral areas and in central urban ones – as well as in spaces created specifically for education, such as campuses or emerging educational hubs, for example in Asia and the Middle East. It will also look at how educational models are internationalized and circulate in this process, between primary, secondary and higher education, between public and private, between North and South, without presupposing that this circulation is unidirectional.

Announcement

Argument

The fourth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” This objective now constitutes the international strategic benchmark for education. However, whilst it represents a common challenge for contemporary societies, access to quality education remains very uneven across the world. Social and cultural inequalities, but also disparities of gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, religion, residence, nationality, residence status, and situations of disability (UNESCO, 2021) are exacerbated as a new global educational order is gradually put in place (Laval and Weber, 2002). Indeed, the neoliberal turn that began in the 1980s led to the decline of the state monopoly on educational matters and the introduction of a multiplicity of actors, international, supranational, and private (Au and Ferrare, 2015; Ball, 2012). Since then, education systems have been the arena of many neoliberal-inspired reforms (Gulson, 2011; Jahnke et al., 2019; Giband et al., 2020), while states are increasingly evaluated and compared in terms of their educational performance (Chatel, 2013).

The neoliberalization of education, which takes the form of privatization processes affecting educational services and institutions, but also the incorporation of commercial and managerial priorities into public systems, is gaining momentum in many places in the Global North and South. It affects higher education, but also primary, secondary and even preschool education, thus covering educational levels across the board. Research, mainly in the fields of sociology and educational science, has focused on these changes (Félouzis et al., 2013). However, it rarely compares the public and private education sectors, on the one hand, and primary, secondary and university education, on the other. Research that compares countries in the Global North and South is even rarer, although it is beginning to emerge (Giband et al., 2020). Moreover, little attention is paid in this research to the analysis of the spaces where these changes occur, which are more often considered as contexts than as real spaces structured by educational systems. However, education has become a structural factor, even determining the attractiveness of a district, a city or a region, as well as being a tool for revitalizing neglected rural areas.

The theme of this issue pursues questions that the journal Espaces et Sociétés has previously raised about the relationship between educational and territorial dynamics (no. 166, 2016, “School and educational spaces”; no. 159, 2014, “The University: return to the city”). Its originality will therefore consist in documenting the way in which neoliberal dynamics, which run through the education sector from primary to higher education, are contributing to the creation of contemporary spaces, both in peripheral areas (urban or rural) and in central urban ones – as well as in spaces created specifically for education, such as campuses or emerging educational hubs, for example in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia) and the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain). It will also look at how educational models are internationalized and circulate in this process, between primary, secondary and higher education, between public and private, between North and South, without presupposing that this circulation is unidirectional.

To this end, the feature proposes three areas of exploration, though crosscutting perspective will also be welcome.

1. Circulation spaces of educational models in the neoliberal turn

While neoliberalism is a notion extensively defined, discussed and contested in the scientific literature, the perspective remains somewhat all-encompassing (Harvey, 2007). This is why many authors prefer the motion of neoliberalization, as a process, which permits greater emphasis to be placed on social, economic, political and geographical changes within various national contexts and at different scales. In the case of education, privatization is generating growing interest, as well as controversy and a new terminology, as illustrated by the notion of the quasi-market, which can be used to assess and identify the involvement of the private sector in education, in particular public education, at several scales¾from local systems to national policies and international pressures (Félouzis et al., 2013; Verger et al., 2016). It is indeed because this neoliberal turn takes different forms between states, in the global North and South, and territories, urban and rural, that we observe different models for the privatization and management of education, which are similar without being identical. While there is nothing new about the transnational circulation of educational models (Alix and Kahn, 2023), what contemporary forms does it assume, how and in what spaces do they circulate? Are they variations on a global model or can regional or even subregional specificities be observed? Are there competing models, which would reflect different visions of what education should be in a globalized context?

2. Internationalization of the actors of education: forms and spaces

Private actors such as education companies and educational institutions are now seeking to extend their influence beyond national borders (Burch, 2009; Saltman, 2015). This expansion is manifested in the creation of international campuses (like education hubs and education cities), the establishment of transnational educational partnerships and the export of educational programs abroad in an expression of diplomatic relations old and new. Public educational institutions, such as universities, government agencies and international organizations, also play an increasing role in this process (Ball, 2012; Lipman, 2013; Rönnberg, 2017). These entities seek to promote cultural exchange, the transfer of knowledge and the mobility of students and teachers on a global scale. However, this internationalization raises complex issues relating to unequal access to education and to educational mobility (Jamid et al., 2020), the standardization of curricula, cultural differences and power dynamics. Through what political, economic and geographical processes do these entities emerge? Particular attention will be paid to education entrepreneurs, known as “edupreneurs”, and in particular to international groups and their areas of operation (Li, 2011).

Echoing recent works on the neoliberalization of education systems and the sociospatial repercussions of this process at different scales (Cucchiara, 2013; Audren, 2015; Giband et al. 2020; Nafaa, 2021), the aim is also to understand the rationale behind the deployment of the actors, the changes they bring about in the places where they intervene, as well as the relations of power and dependence in those places. How can public, private and international educational actors make a territory more attractive and how, conversely, can they contribute to its rejection, from the scale of the single neighbourhood to that of the wider metropolis, region or even country concerned?

3. Spatial issues around the development of the private educational market

The classic structure of the private market is, in many countries, often transformed by the appearance of new establishments, which no longer address only the most privileged students, but seek to attract a wider population by refining and diversifying the range of educational products, their prices, their infrastructures and their educational offer. What are their disseminative priorities? Can new types of private school be identified? Are specific educational offers identifiable, geared to the territories in which they are located? Can regional or national specializations be identified? Finally, what are the effects of these dynamics of privatization in terms of socio-spatial inequalities?

Articles may be based on specific case studies, from multiple disciplinary fields, combining the social and spatial dimensions of the phenomenon. In order to promote cross-perspectives, comparative research is also welcome, whether local, regional, national, in the North or in the South. Finally, we will be attentive to the theoretical, epistemological and methodological aspects of the proposals in their attempts to grasp interface between neoliberalization processes in educational systems and territorial transformations.

Feature Coordinators

  • Virginie Baby-Collin, Géographe, Professeure des Universités, Aix-Marseille Université, UMR TELEMMe
  • Florence Bouillon, Socio-anthropologue, Maîtresse de conférences en sociologie à l’Université Paris 8, UMR LAVUE
  • Hicham Jamid, Sociologue, Post-doctorant à l’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), LPED, Aix-Marseille Université
  • Nora Nafaa, Géographe, Chargée de Recherche au CNRS, UMR TELEMMe, Aix-Marseille Université

Submission guidelines

Articles to be submitted no later than March 25, 2024

Address for correspondence : exclusively by e-mail to the following addresses virginie.baby-collin@univ-amu.fr ; florence.bouillon@gmail.com ; hichamjmd@gmail.com ; nora.nafaa@gmail.com.

Authors who are uncertain about the suitability of their proposal can contact the coordinators.

The journal does not accept article proposals, only completed articles.

Articles should not exceed 45,000 characters (including spaces), encompassing: text, notes, bibliographical references, appendices, but excluding abstracts and keywords.

The presentation requirements and advice for authors are available on the journal website.

The journal would like to remind potential contributors that they can at any time submit an article outside the subject of this special feature, if it is about the relationship between spaces, territories and populations in the widest sense, and provided that it meets the publication requirements.

Bibliography

ALIX Sébastien-Akira, KAHN Pierre, 2023, “Transnational circulations in education (19TH - 20TH CENTURIES) : summary note of the work of an expanding field of research”, Recherches en éducation, n° 50 [DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/ree.11516].

AUDREN Gwenaëlle, 2015, Geography of urban fragmentation and school territories in Marseille, doctoral thesis in geography, Aix Marseille University.

AU Wayne, FERRARE Joseph J. (dir.), 2015, Mapping corporate education reform: Power and policy networks in the neoliberal state, New York-Londres, Routledge.

BALL Stephen J., 2012, Global education inc: New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary, New York-Londres, Routledge.

BURCH Patricia, 2009, Hidden markets: The new education privatization, New York-Londres, Routledge.

CHATEL Elisabeth, 2013, « L’évaluation de l’éducation dans le contexte de mondialisation : le cas français», Trema, n° 40, p. 28-40.

CUCCHIARA Maia Bloomfield, 2013, Marketing schools, marketing cities: Who wins and who loses when schools become urban amenities, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

FÉLOUZIS Georges, MAROY Christian, VAN ZANTEN Agnès, 2013, School markets: sociology of a public education policy, Paris, Puf.

GIBAND David, MARY Kevin, NAFAA Nora, 2020, “Introduction. Education, privatization, segregation: North/South perspectives. On the importance of the spatial dimension of educational dynamics”, Cahiers de la recherche sur l’éducation et les savoirs, no 19, p. 7-20.

GULSON Kalervo, 2011, Education policy, space and the city: Markets and the (in) visibility of race, New York-London, Routledge.

HARVEY David, 2007, A brief history of neoliberalism, Oxford, Oxford University Press. JAHNKE Holger, KRAMER Caroline, MEUSBURGER Peter (eds.), 2019, Geographies of schooling, Cham, Springer.

JAMID Hicham, K ABBANJI Lama, L EVATINO Antonina, M ARY Kévin, 2020, “Migration for studies through the prism of social mobility”, Migrations Société, vol. 2, no. 1 80, p. 19- 35.

LAVAL Christian, WEBER Louis, 2002, The new world educational order, Paris, Syllepse- Nouveaux regards.

LI Weixiao, 2011, Edupreneurs: A Study on For-Profit Education in Mainland China. Dissertation, doctoral thesis in pedagogy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich).

LIPMAN Pauline, 2011, The new political economy of urban education: Neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city, New York-Londres, Routledge.

NAFAA Nora, 2021, Dispossessing school to serve the neoliberal city in the United States, the cases of Atlanta and Philadelphia, doctoral thesis in geography, University of Perpignan Via Domitia.

RÖNNBERG Linda, 2017, “From national policy-making to global edu-business: Swedish edu- preneurs on the move”, Journal of Education Policy, vol. 2, no 32, p. 234-249.

SALTMAN Kenneth J., 2015, Capitalizing on disaster: Taking and breaking public schools, New York-London, Routledge.

Unesco, 2021, Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education [URL: https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/, consulted on 13/07/2023].

VERGER Antony, Fontdevila Clara, Zancajo Adrian, 2016, The privatization of education: A political economy of global education reform, New York-Londres, Teachers College Press.


Date(s)

  • Monday, March 25, 2024

Keywords

  • éducation, néolibéralisation, privatisation, territoire, nord, sud

Contact(s)

  • Virginie Baby-Collin
    courriel : virginie [dot] baby-collin [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • Florence Bouillon
    courriel : florence [dot] bouillon [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Nora Nafaa
    courriel : Nora [dot] nafaa [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

Information source

  • Hicham JAMID
    courriel : hichamjmd [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Neoliberalization of education and the making of territories », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, August 31, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1bpu

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