Chair: Stephen Carney, Roskilde University, Denmark 


Education and identities are being (re)articulated by forces that are well beyond the control of national states. Many of these are corporate, shaped by the logic of market reach and profit-accumulation. Others reflect the collective political and cultural desires and commitments of regional bodies such as the European Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of American States or the African Union. A third and growing voice comes from the voluntary or philanthropic sector where new donors are shaping development priorities to reflect more idiosyncratic views and interests. Irrespective of the focus one adopts, educational identities can now be understood as reflecting a heightened sense of economic self-interest and autonomy, an awareness of regional and global interconnectivity and belonging, as well as a growing sense of disconnect and confusion. Forms of governance and organisation do not merely respond to our contemporary political landscape but, rather, have been central in shaping it.

This Working Group (WG) deals with some of the most profound and complex challenges or even contestations facing education and identity formation in Europe and elsewhere. Whilst encouraging a broad array of papers, the WG is particularly interested in papers that address the following issues:

  • Techniques and technologies: the rise and implications of new governance methods and systems. This might include the application of ‘big data’ to education as well as new developments regarding measurement, performance and surveillance systems. How are these new regimes of visibility (re)shaping notions of the educated person in national, regional and global terms?
  • Actors and organisations: the role of international agencies and new scalar relations (for example regional and transnational configurations) in recalibrating and challenging the role of nation states in the field of education and identity formation. Who is setting the agenda for education and what does it mean to be educated in an age of fluidity?  In what ways does this new agenda differ from earlier ones?
  • Subject positions and identity politics: the prospects for education in an age of uncertain transnationalism. What types of education become possible as the state is displaced from its historically privileged position in educating populaces? What new educated subjectivities and positionalities are emerging (or under erasure) as new actors and processes attempt to redefine (historically contested) notions of the educated person?

The WG welcomes contributions from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and conceptual orientations aimed at understanding the interests driving such transformations and how these are affecting educational identities nationally and beyond.