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See detailGeplante Bildung für die freie Welt. Die OECD und die Entstehung einer technokratischen Bildungsexpertise
Bürgi, Regula UL

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Today, national education polices are increasingly informed and affected by an international education policy space: ‘World education managers,’ equipped with standardized tests and indicators, identify ... [more ▼]

Today, national education polices are increasingly informed and affected by an international education policy space: ‘World education managers,’ equipped with standardized tests and indicators, identify ‘best practices’ that are assumed to be valid across all nation states, largely irrespective of their specific historical, cultural and educational contexts. These global experts have found many hosts and platforms for their views within international governmental organizations, foremost among them the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). With instruments such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), OECD has become – without having any educational mandate – a hegemonic power in the field of international education policy. The OECD is thus a significant example for a new kind of educational expertise that is characterized by a permanent, institutionalized link between policy and research. For all its ‘influence’ on contemporary policy, little is known about the emergence of this international policy space, its inner logics – its ‘managers’ and the origins of their ‘universal language’. Whereas the current research literature often associates the origins of this internationalization with the fall of the Iron Curtain, this PhD thesis argues that its roots were established and shaped during – and not after – the Cold War, with the formative period occurring during the late 1950’s and the 1960’s. By reconstructing OECD’s emerging role as an expert in education, this thesis sheds light on particular ‘actors’ or rather ‘networks’ and the ‘styles of reasoning’ that enabled, shaped, and legitimized this new international authority. More precisely, this thesis describes how, against the background of a Cold War ‘culture of control,’ a space was created for the rise of different technocratic networks. These networks were eventually characterized by the belief that education bears the ultimate means for solving the problems of societies. Within the OECD these technocratic networks found the ideal institutional platform to give their ‘styles of reasoning’ expression and to establish and to diffuse a specific goal-oriented, quantitative research culture with a strong ‘social engineering’ bent. The epistemology and methods of this specific form of research originated not the least from military war research, whereby the USA acted both as a model and as a catalyst. In the name of the ‘free world’ – as the thesis concludes – a cult of expertise was established leading less to forms of democracy than to a monarchy of ‘evidence’. By disentangling and identifying the ‘styles of reasoning’ as well as the ‘networks’ that were crucial in establishing OECD’s educational expertise, this thesis highlights that a policy phenomenon like the OECD’s PISA does not derive ‘out of the blue’ but, on the contrary, has its roots in a longer history – a decisive context that is often neglected in current explanations assembled around buzzwords like ‘globalization’ or ‘world culture’. Moreover this thesis contributes to the reconstruction of the establishment of a new institutional site that generates a specific kind of knowledge and oscillates between policy and research whilst bypassing the traditional research institutions – the universities. [less ▲]

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See detailThe National in the Global: Switzerland and the Council of Europe’s Policies on Schooling for Migrant Children in the 1960s
Bürgi, Regula UL; Eigenmann, Philipp

in Tröhler, Daniel; Lenz, Thomas (Eds.) Trajectories in the Development of Modern School Systems (2015)

Detailed reference viewed: 49 (4 UL)
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See detailBypassing Federal Education Policies. The OECD and the Case of Switzerland
Bürgi, Regula UL

in IJHE Bildungsgeschichte (2012), 1(2), 24-35

Detailed reference viewed: 77 (9 UL)