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The boundaries of policy learning and the role of ideas: Sweden, as a reluctant policy learner?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8731-4728
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science. University of Turku.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5791-081x
2019 (English)In: Beyond erziehungswissenschaftlicher Grenzen: Diskurse zu Entgrenzungen der Disziplin / [ed] Ulrike Stadler-Altmann & Barbara Gross, Opladen: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag GmbH, 2019, p. 63-77Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter aims to bring the study of ideas into the analysis of education policy and governance, and to explore their transfer, dissemination and feedback between the international and national policy making arenas. In a globalised education context, policy ideas about education often reflect changes in the dynamic relations between society and schooling – manifested for example in the pursuit of the knowledge economy as the future paradigm underpinning education reforms. Across Europe and other parts of the world, new policy ideas about education have driven major restructuring projects that dismantled older forms of schooling and welfare provision. Invariably, these have been replaced by new ways of defining education policy problems that draw on the market place as a new social and policy space where knowledge and policy solutions are contextualised and utilised differently to the norms of the past. The shifts in the assumptions about education policy knowledge and policy ideas, raise a number of interesting questions, such as, what produces policy changes in education systems and what is the influence of international actors? And, who are the agents of change in education reforms? Our ambition in this chapter is to connect some of these issues to the restructuring of Swedish education over the last 30 years. Sweden underwent a radical shift in the early 1990s from strong central state governing of education and very few private schools to a highly decentralized system promoting school choice and competition between public as well as private actors. Based on generous vouchers and liberal authorization rules, the private school sector expanded at a high pace, particularly in the 2000s. Allowing profit-making without demands on re-investment in schools, education has increasingly attracted large limited liability companies – something that makes the Swedish case out¬standing in an international comparison (Lundahl et al. 2013; Alexiadou, Lundahl & Rönnberg 2019). In this chapter, we discuss if and to what extent the introduction and continuation of school choice and marketization policies in Sweden were guided by policy learning from external actors, in particular supranational organizations such as the European Union and the OECD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Opladen: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag GmbH, 2019. p. 63-77
Keywords [en]
policy learning, role of ideas, Sweden, OECD
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163529ISBN: 9783847423683 (print)ISBN: 9783847414896 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-163529DiVA, id: diva2:1354265
Available from: 2019-09-24 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2019-10-16Bibliographically approved

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