Field of Knowledge and the Policy Field in Education : PISA and the Production of Knowledge for Policy

Hilgers, Mathieu and Mangez, Eric. 2012. Field of Knowledge and the Policy Field in Education : PISA and the Production of Knowledge for Policy. European Educational Research Journal, 11(2), pp. 189-205. [Article]

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This article is about the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and its actors. It analyses the development and role of PISA as a ‘cultural product’ from the perspective of Bourdieu's field theory. The authors attempt to answer the following questions: Of which field is PISA the product? In which field and by whom is PISA used and ‘consumed’? The authors argue that the development of PISA is part of a broader transformation of equilibria within the field of (education) knowledge — i.e. a move away from its autonomous pole towards its heteronomous pole. Such a move transforms the very form and shape of the field of knowledge: it has expanded and attracts a growing number of internal and external actors around its heteronomous pole. This (cor)responds to a transformation of the equilibrium within the general field of power, where the intellectual bourgeoisie (artists, professors, academics, writers) is increasingly subordinated to — indeed, sometimes working for — economic and political interests. The authors further argue that the incorporation of PISA at the level of education policy fields also transforms their form and shape in two main ways. Within policy fields, the diffusion and reception of PISA reinforces a heteronomous understanding of education which is defined mostly in terms of its contribution to external interests. The diffusion of PISA also extends and, in a sense, dissolves the very boundaries of (national) education policy fields. Specifically, the authors underline that such an internationalisation of the education policy fields progresses mainly at their heteronomous poles and through a heteronomous definition of education.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)



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Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2015 09:31

Last Modified:

02 Dec 2015 14:51

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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