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A ‘Renewed’ Sociological Framework for Understanding ‘the Knowledge-Based Economy’

by Florent Bick last modified 2010-11-10 11:44


University of Bristol

A ‘Renewed’ Sociological Framework for Understanding ‘the Knowledge-Based Economy’

Derouet (2010) argues that in France, the new sociology of education continues to be trapped in ontological and epistemological frameworks that draw on, and reproduce, particular understandings of the state, social space, social reproduction and social transformation, despite significant transformations broadly described as ‘globalisation’ that have been under way for more then two decades. In this paper I suggest that these theoretical and empirical issues are not confined to France. Rather, this is a more widespread phenomenon - the consequence of the historically-contingent ‘national’ tendency in sociological analysis, as focused on, and determined by, social relations reducible to the nation/state scale and the continued elision of citizenship claims in education with that national/state territory and sovereignty. The sociological imagination has also been instrumentalised as sociologists have been drawn into the roles of policy experts, problem-solvers, and knowledge brokers of the ‘national interest’. Sociological analysis in education is also confronted with the consequences of an under-developed spatial optic in its conceptual grammar, making its ability to fully grasp the complex ways in which state-education-space is being reworked. Using the claim we now live in a ‘knowledge-based economy’ as an entry point, I argue that our understanding of this meta-narrative will be necessarily limited unless we can overcome four ‘isms’ facing contemporary sociology of education accounts – methodological nationalism, methodological statism, spatial fetishism, and methodological educationism (see Dale and Robertson, 2008; 2009). A ‘renewed’ sociological framework which directly addresses these ‘isms’ is better placed to reveal the ways education as ‘right’, ‘sector’, ‘process’, ‘commodity’, and ‘demeanour’ are being socially produced in the name of a knowledge-based economy’ by a range of actors and translation projects operating on, within, and across, scales.

Education et sociétés
Numéro 21
Former des élites dans un monde incertain
Coordonné par Yves Dutercq
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Association internationale des sociologues de langue françaiseComité de recherche n °7 Éducation, Formation, Socialisation
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