The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and Researching Education Policy

Bourdieu did not write anything explicitly about education policy. Despite this neglect, we agree with van Zanten that his theoretical concepts and methodological approaches can contribute to researching and understanding education policy in the context of globalisation and the economising of it. In applying Bourdieu’s theory and methodology to research in education policy, we focus on developing his work to understand what we call ‘cross-field effects’ and for exploring the emergence of a ‘global education policy field’. These concepts are derived from some of our recent research concerning globalisation and mediatisation of education policy. The paper considers three separate issues. The first deals with Bourdieu’s primary ‘thinking tools’, namely practice, habitus, capitals and fields and their application to policy studies. The second and third sections consider two additions to Bourdieu’s thinking tools, as a way to reconceptualise  the functioning of policy if considered as a social field. More specifically, the second section develops an argument around cross-field effects, as a way to group together, research and describe policy effects. The third section develops an argument about an emergent global education policy field, and considers ways that such a field affects national education policy fields.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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