Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2015

Governing Education in Europe: From partnership to privatisation

Lecturer: Professor Jenny Ozga,
Department of Education,
The University of Oxford, UK

Main disciplines: Educational Science,
Sociology of Education, Political Science

Dates: 27 - 31 July 2015
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 25 participants

The course has two main interlinked objectives: the first is to locate education as a field of study within inter/transdisciplinary perspectives from political science, sociology, and cultural studies, as well as from education itself, in order to highlight the ways in which developments in the governing of education may be connected to and reflect wider developments in public and social policy and governance. The second objective is to explore some specific issues and problems that governing education presents, and that also help to develop and illuminate current theorisations and conceptualizations of changing governance in Europe. The lectures are organized so that they address both of these objectives: each lecture considers the history and development of particular governing issues and problems in education (for example the rise of performance data, or marketisation and choice in education, or regulation through inspection) while also drawing on these ‘cases’ in order to explore a range of perspectives on these developments, and each lecture assesses the contribution of these (sometimes competing) perspectives to understanding the governing of education, its shifts and continuities from 1945 to the present.

The lectures will draw on research evidence from studies of education governance in a range of European countries, including those carried out by the lecturer, so that they engage with contemporary debates about the nature of comparison in education, and the problem of researching and interpreting the interaction of global, European and ‘local’ i.e. national governing forces and relations. In addressing these issues, we consider the emergence of a European Educational Policy Space (EEPS) as a concept that seeks to capture the construction and governing of Europe as ‘one space’ in which goods and people move freely, while also recognising the differences in scales and sites that exist across Europe, the barriers to mobility, and the different speeds at which cosmopolitan cross-border elites and ‘local’ or ‘peripheral’ populations are operating. These issues present considerable governing problems, to which education is often viewed as a solution. These lectures, then, seek to draw on highly current debates and developments that place education/learning centre stage in developments in governing in Europe.

Students who wish to receive a certificate and earn credit for a PhD programme are expected to write an essay of about 6,000 words within 8 weeks after the course. Fulfilling this requirement gives you 10 ECTS points. Topics for the paper should be chosen in consultation with the instructor.

Preparatory Reading
These readings are highly recommended as preparation for the course:

  • Bevir, M (2013)  A Theory of Governance (University of California Press-pp262 available for free download at: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2qs2w3rb#page-1
  • Martens, K., Nagel, A-K., Windzio, M., Weymann, A. (eds) (2010) Transformation of Education Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan DOI: 10.1057/9780230281295 pp284
  • Lawn M. and S. Grek (2012) Europeanising Education: governing a new policy space Oxford, Symposium pp172


Lecture 1: Education as field of study and as a Policy Field
We begin with an overview of education as a policy field and as a productive field of study for interdisciplinary enquiry. The multiple policy demands made on education-economic, cultural, social-are considered, and the tensions between education as a resource for social justice, social mobility and allocation of scare resources are discussed, with attention to their consequences for governing.


  • Lingard B and Ozga J (eds) (2007) ‘Globalisation, Education Policy and Politics’ Chapter 5 in The Routledge Falmer Reader in Education Policy and Politics Routledge: London. pp 65-79
  • Dale R (2007) ‘Specifying globalisation effects on national policy: a focus on the mechanisms’ chapter 4 in Lingard B and Ozga J (eds) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Education Policy and Politics Routledge: London pp 48-65
  • Nagel A-K, Martens K and Windzio M (2010) ‘Introduction—Education Policy in Transformation’ in Transformation of Education Policy.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan pp 3-27
  • Robertson, S.L. (2005)  ‘Re-imagining and rescripting the future of education: global knowledge economy discourses and the challenge to education systems’ Comparative Education Vol. 41, No. 2, May 2005, pp. 151–170

Lecture 2: Education in the post-war welfare settlement in Europe
This lecture explores the role of education in post-war reconstruction and ‘settlement’ in Europe, focusing on the central role of the state, and the conceptualization of the governing of education as a partnership involving teachers, local/municipal authorities and the central government. We consider the relationship between this version of governance and the academic literature with reference to pluralist, corporatist and elite theories.


  • Weymann A (2010) ‘The Educating State—Historical Developments and Current Trends’ chapter 3 in Martens, K., Nagel, A-K., Windzio, M., Weymann, A. (eds) (2010) Transformation of Education Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan pp 53-77
  • Green A (2013) Chapter 4 ‘Education and State Formation’ pp 82-114 and chapter 5  ‘Education and Statism in Continental Europe’ pp 115-169 in Education and State Formation (2nd Edition) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Jones K (2003) Education in Britain: 1944 to the present, Cambridge: Polity Press Chapter 2 ‘The Golden Age’ pp 39-66

Lecture 3: The Modernizing State: education, economy and citizenship
Here we review the processes that challenged ‘consensus’ around education in the 1970s in Europe, tracing the impact of the oil crisis and economic turbulence, together with demands for gender and race equality, on structures and systems of education provision, in particular, the search for efficiency and the adoption of new management practices, the increased steering of education professionals, and the beginnings of marketisation. We consider the ways in which these developments are reflected or challenged in the academic literature, and their impact on governing practices and conceptualisations of governing education.


  • Clarke J and Newman J (1997) The Managerial State: Power, Politics and Ideology in the Remaking of Social Welfare, London Sage. Chapter 1 ‘From the Cradle to the Grave: The Crises of the post-War Welfare Settlements’ pp 1-18 and chapter 2 ‘Towards the Managerial State’ pp 18-34
  • Jones K (2003) Education in Britain: 1944 to the present, Cambridge: Polity Press Chapter 3  ‘Expansion, Experiment, Conflict’ pp 70-100

Lecture 4: Europeanisation of Education: from Culture to Numbers
In this lecture the focus shifts from the nation-state and its ‘modernizing’ reforms to the changing role of Europe in governing education. We start from the role of education and culture in the creating of a common European ‘project’ in the post-war years, examining the shifting forms of governing relations from the Treaty of Rome to Maastricht and then to Lisbon, and the European Semester. We consider conceptualisations of the European Education policy Space (EEPS) and the different ways in which various discipline-based approaches to Europeanisation and changing governance approach the issue of Europeanisation in education.


  • Grek, S and Rinne, R. (2010) ‘Fabricating Europe: from Culture to Numbers’ chapter 2 in Ozga, J. Dahler-Larsen, P. Segerholm,C. and Simola, H. (eds) Fabricating Quality in Europe: data and Education Governance. London Routledge pp 19-31
  • Lawn, M and Grek, S. (2010) ‘Chaotic Uniformity: the rise of the European Dimnsion in Education’ chapter 3 pp 35-50 in Europeanising Education: governing a new policy space Oxford, Symposium
  • Hartmann E (2008) ‘The EU as an emerging normative power in the global knowledge-based economy? Recognition regimes for higher education qualifications’ chapter 3 in Jessop, B Fairclough, N and Wodak R (eds) Education and the Knowledge-Based Economy in Europe, Rotterdam Sense Publishers pp 41-63

Lecture 5: Governing by Numbers: The Rise of Data
In this lecture we look at some of the most important policy levers or tools that the European Commission is able to mobilise in governing education, while also examining the wider issue of the growth of data and comparison in governance generally, and in education in particular. We ask questions about the consequences of OECD’s PISA and the growth of Eurostat in terms of governing practices and relations across and within European nation-states, and look at the role of experts and technologies in translating comparative data into ‘levers for action’ by governments and international organisations. Finally, we consider competing approaches to data use in governing education, from different disciplinary sources.


  • Grek S (2009) ‘Governing by Numbers: the PISA effect in Europe’ Journal of Education Policy 24 (1) 23-37
  • Miller, Peter (2004) ‘Governing by numbers: why calculative practices matter’ in Amin, A and Thrift, N, (eds.) The Blackwell Cultural Economy Reader. Blackwell, Malden, pp. 179-190.
  • Nóvoa, A and Yariv-Mashal T (2003) Comparative research in education: A mode of governance or a historical journey? Comparative Education 39 (4): 423–443.
  • Sahlberg, P. (2010) ‘Rethinking accountability in a knowledge society’ Journal of  Educational Change vol 11 pp 45-61

Lecture 6: Governing Knowledge: Changing Governance and Changing Knowledge
This lecture moves on from the prevalence of data and the speed of technological data retrieval and use to explore the relationship between these changing conditions of knowledge production and the changing governance of education. We focus in particular on knowledge production and its relationship to policy and on the rise of evidence-based policy-making and its consequences for research-policy relations, while, as always, connecting this discussion to ways of conceptualising governance.


  • Fazekas, M. and T. Burns (2012), ‘Exploring the Complex Interaction between Governance and Knowledge in Education’, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 67, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k9flcx2l340-en , pp67
  • Levin, B. (2011). ‘Mobilising research knowledge in education’ London Review of Education, 9(1) pp. 15– 26.
  • Nutley, S., Morton, S., Jung, T., and Boaz, A. (2010). ‘Evidence and policy in six European countries: diverse approaches and common challenges’. Evidence and Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 6(2), pp 131-144.

Lecture 7: Governing the Academy: changing knowledge production?


  • Dobbins M and Knill C (2015) Higher education governance reforms in Europe: concepts, measurement and empirical findings’ chapter 11 in Lawn, M and Normand, R (2015) (eds) Shaping of European Education, London Routledge pp170-201
  • Jessop B (2008) ‘A Cultural Political Economy of Competitiveness and its implications for Higher Education’ chapter1 in B. Jessop, R. Wodak and N. Fairclough (eds) Education and the Knowledge-based Economy in Europe, Rotterdam, Sense Publishers pp 13-39
  • Luke, A. (2007) After the Marketplace: Evidence, social science and educational research chapter x in B. Lingard and J. Ozga (eds) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Education Policy and Politics, Routledge: London, pp. 85 – 100.

Lecture 8: Regulation and Inspection
The actors that may mediate data and ‘translate’ its messages for policy use are of particular interest in the changing governance of education. In this lecture we focus on one group of actors with strong regulatory powers in education in Europe-inspectors of education. We consider their role in standardising ‘best practices’ and draw on concepts from political science literature to assess their capacity to ‘mediate’ education governance in national and transnational contexts, and to examine the nature of the regulatory instruments at their disposal.


  • Clarke, J (2015) Inspection: Governing at a Distance chapter 1 pp 11-27 in Grek, S and Lingren J (eds) Governing by Inspection, London Routledge
  • Grek, S. Lawn, M. Ozga, J. and Segerholm, C. (2013) ‘Governing by Inspection? European Inspectorates and the creation of a European Education Policy Space. Comparative Education, Volume 49, Issue 4, November 2013, pages 486-502
  • Jacobsson, B. (2006) Regulated regulators. Global trends of State Transformation, in Djelic, M-L. and Sahlin-Andersson, K., eds, Transnational Governance: Institutional Dynamics of Regulation. Cambridge University Press.pp 205-225

Lecture 9: The Shadow State
The theme of marketisation of education returns here, but with a focus on the new actors involved in governing education throughout Europe (though with varying levels of intensity). We consider the extent to which private sector organisations actively govern education, with a focus on education provision in England, where commercialisation is highly developed. We identify the key players and look at the ways in which contracts for service delivery are constructed and monitored, and assess the extent to which the state has been hollowed out, or reduced to a ‘shadow’ state.


  • Ball, S. (2008) New Philanthropy, New Networks and New Governance in Education. Political Studies vol. 56, 747 – 765.
  • Lawn, M. (2013) A Systemless System: designing the disarticulation of English state education, European Educational Research Journal 12 (3) 231-241
  • Lawn, M (2014) ‘Outsourcing the governing of education: the contemporary inspection of schooling in England’ Sisyphus: Journal of education volume 2, issue 1 (2014), pp. 88-105
  • Williamson B (2014) New Governing Experts in Education-self-learning software, policy labs and transactional pedagogies chapter 15 in Fenwick, T. Mangez, E. and Ozga J. (eds) (2013)  Governing Knowledge: Comparison, Knowledge-based technologies and expertise in the regulation of education (World Yearbook of Education) Routledge pp 218-232

Lecture 10: Governing Education
In the final session, we draw together the key ideas from the course in order to summarise the main changes in the governing of education since the post-war period and into the contemporary era. At the same time, we review the ways in which the conceptualisation of education governance has shifted and altered in parallel with these developments, while locating education as a policy field within the wider framework of social and public policy, and of academic scholarship in those disciplines.


  • Ball S. and Junemann C. (2012) Networks, New Governance and Education, Bristol, Polity Press chapters 1 and 2 pp 1-47
  • Clarke, J. (2012). ‘The Work of Governing’ in K. Coulter & W. R. Schumann (Eds.), Governing Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Political Labor, Power and Government pp. 209–231. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Maroy, C (2012) ‘Towards Post-bureaucratic Modes of Governance: A European perspective’ in Steiner-Khamsi, G and Waldow, F (2012) Policy Borrowing and Lending in Education (World Yearbook of Education) London Routledge pp 62-80
  • Lascoumes, P. and Le Galès, P. (2007) ‘Understanding Public Policy through its instruments-from the nature of instruments to the sociology of public policy instrumentation’, Governance, 20(1): 1-21.

Additional readings

  • Gornitzka, A. (2006) The Open Method of Coordination as practice - A watershed in European education policy? Arena Working Paper Series: 16/2006
  • Hood, C. (2006b). ‘Gaming in targetworld: The targets approach to managing British public services’. Public Administration Review, 66(4), 515-521.
  • Miller P. and Rose N (2008) Governing the Present, London, Polity
  • Pierre, J. and Peters, B. G. (2005). Governing Complex Societies: Trajectories and Scenarios. Palgrave Macmillan.

The lecturer
Professor Jenny Ozga (MA, MEd, PhD) is Professor of the Sociology of Education in the Department of Education and a Senior Research Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, UK. She co-ordinates the Research Forum on European Education in the Oxford University Department of Education. Her main research area is education policy and governance, and her recent funded research includes investigation of new governing forms and relations in education in Europe.

Her publications include Policy Research in Educational Settings (2000) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Education Policy and Politics (edited with B. Lingard) (2007) Fabricating Quality in Europe: data and Education Governance (edited with P. Dahler-Larsen, C. Segerholm and H. Simola (2010) Governing Knowledge: Comparison, Knowledge-based technologies and expertise in the regulation of education (edited with T. Fenwick and E. Mangez) (2013). Jenny is a Fellow of the British Academy, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Turku, Finland.

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Published Aug. 22, 2014 12:46 PM - Last modified Jan. 7, 2016 10:47 AM