How can we think about inequality and education? My guest today, Mario Novelli, dives into the subject by looking at the role of schools in the production of inequality.

Since 2010, Mario has researched issues related to the role of education in peace building processes, working with UNICEF on a series of projects.

In our conversation, Mario not only details how modernity, capitalism, and colonialism combine to create systems of inequality inside school systems but also publicly struggles with his role in the production of inequality through his work in international educational development.

Mario Novelli is Professor of the Political Economy of Education and Director of the Centre for International Education (CIE) at the University of Sussex. His latest article discussed in this podcast can be found in the most recent issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education.

Citation: Novelli, Mario, Interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 41, September 12, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/marionovelli/

Will Brehm:  1:58
Mario Novelli, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Mario Novelli:  2:01
Thanks very much for having me.

Will Brehm:  2:03
The British Journal of Sociology of Education has put out a special issue on the work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who wrote a pretty famous book in 2013 called Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. And you have a piece in this special issue. What is Piketty’s main argument in Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century? And why does it warrant a whole issue of an education journal?

Mario Novelli:  2:33
Okay, well, Piketty’s book is a big one. And it really focuses around the rise of inequality over the last 200, 220 years.

And his central argument is that, unlike orthodox economic belief that as capitalism has developed, and as nations develop, inequality reduces. In fact, what he highlights is that, apart from a brief interlude between the first and second world war, inequality has tended to increase and what that leads into develop is a kind of the assertion of an economic law, which is that private wealth, inherited wealth increases faster than productive investment or economic growth.

And that has a tendency to increase inequality in the long run. And I think that for education, there are lots of implications, there are lots of implications around the role of education in the reproduction of inequality, the role of education in potentially redressing inequality and being in a sense an equalizing factor in society. So there are many dimensions that we thought in the special issue we might be able to explore. And as you know, my particular work focuses on the relationship between education and conflict. So I went a bit more deeply into that area.

Will Brehm:  4:11
And we will touch on that in a second. But first, just generally speaking, in your opinion, does Piketty have any weaknesses in his argument that you were able to uncover during your research?

Mario Novelli:  4:28
I mean, I think there are a lot of weaknesses, I would like to say that I think it’s a great book, I think it’s a really important book. And I think that in an accessible way, despite the length of the book, and he puts on the table, some really important ideas around issues of inequality, which for many years, has not been a problem for orthodox economists, inequality seems to be something that should be embraced as a natural part of economic development.

In terms of challenges, I think the first one is that Piketty is an economist. And although he’s much more open than neoclassical economists, his focus is firmly on the economic domain and economic inequality, which, for me, is important, but insufficient. I think, if we look at the history of popular movements, who have struggled against the inequality over the last 70 years, economic inequality is only one domain of confrontation, it’s a key domain. But nevertheless, it’s just one site of contestation, I think, what we need to explore are other modes of inequality alongside economic inequality, cultural, political, national, and their effects on genders, identities, political rights, human rights, etc. So I think, you know, the big area is the kind of narrow economism within which we approach inequality. So I think there are lots of more depth different dimensions to focus on.
The second thing, and I think this is linked to his empiricism, the focus on numbers on evidence that is attainable is that I don’t think that everything that is important can necessarily be measured, and not everything that’s measured is necessarily important. And I think that’s why theory matters, because theory sometimes helps us to get under the surface of things that we can’t see unequal structures, social classes, racism, things like that, that exists, but are not necessarily visible in, you know, the classic, countable ways of empiricism.
And I think, then, the third difficulty in Piketty’s work, or the third omission, at least for me, particularly, is his failure to explore the issue of imperialism, the role of the north and the south, slavery, the history of colonialism in the history of capitalist development. It’s as if capitalist development unfolded through economic laws. But actually, what we know is that capitalism has also unfolded through conquest, colonialism, etc.

Will Brehm:  7:03
It sounds like he misses some of the, my guess, more complex issues of inequality as a social and cultural phenomenon. But how does Piketty or does Piketty bring up the issue of education in his work?

Mario Novelli:  8:07
Well, I guess as an economist, it’s not surprising that Piketty sees education as a kind of an engine of growth. And potentially, I think, an engine of equity and the reduction of inequality. And, you know, that’s linked to his understanding of human capital. And the idea that we invest in education in order to improve both our own personal economic wealth, but also the wealth of the nation. Though, of course, this is challenged, the relevance of human capital theory is challenged by himself in the book, because essentially, what he’s arguing is that inherited capital, debt capital is more productive than economic growth and productive capital. So investing in education may not bring you the returns that it might want have brought. So even for the human capital theory, there is a problem at the moment in terms of the nature of capitalist development. So that’s really where his focuses on the returns of education in terms of economic development and economic growth.

Will Brehm:  9:33
In your opinion, what is the relationship between education and capitalism if it’s not human capital?

Mario Novelli:  9:42
Okay, well, I think human capital is part of the story. Let’s be clear about that. I’m not saying that human capital is not important. But I think that if we look at the relationship between education and capitalism, it’s much more complex. I guess, I would start with Roger Dale’s work of the 1970s Education and the Capitalist State, where you need to think about education’s relationship to accumulation ie human capital, social cohesion – the role of education systems in making different population groups get on or not, and also in legitimation, the role of education in making students accept the situation that they’re in, the state of affairs that exists in society. So in a sense, it has a legitimating effect. It has a social cohesion affect, it also has an accumulation effect. And as Roger always pointed out, these three dimensions are not necessarily compatible. So if you focus on accumulation, you may undermine social cohesion, through selectivity etc.

And you may undermine accumulation and social cohesion by focusing too much on the legitimation. So there are range of contradictions in that. So that’s the first area that I think is important to return to. And I think the second area which is a more modern phenomenon is that education is not just human capital, in the terms of self-investment, and the production or the role of education in economic growth.

Education has emerged as an important commodity in the late 20th century, early 21st century whereby it’s one of the fastest growing industries and we can see that the expansion of universities and international chains of schools, so education itself is a factor in economic exchange now and I think that needs to be explored in much more detail and is completely avoided in Piketty’s work, as Susan Robertson’s article in the same special issue focuses on.

The third area, and I think this is, again, really important is the area of inequalities, the role of education in reproducing inequalities. And I’m not just thinking about class and gender, which is a lot of the focus but also about the way education systems reproduce north south inequality, you know.

How is it that Sub Saharan Africa, for example, remains marginalized in terms of the international economy. And I would say that the role of education, education actors, the International architecture of education, delivery, and policy also plays its role in the reproduction of those inequalities. So there are different dimensions. So in a sense, Piketty importantly looks at one area, but I think that if you’re going to take education seriously, you have to look at it much more broadly.

Will Brehm:  13:21
I think it would be very interesting for listeners to hear more about how education can contribute to inequality because I think on the surface that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, because they would see it as education is the way to achieve equality and to achieve progress.

Mario Novelli:  13:47
Yeah, that’s right. Well, I guess you know, the simplest terms, particularly if you have a Western if we’re thinking about a Western audience, is the way that education privileges some actors and undermines others, the inequality in the provision of education in my own country, in the UK, depending on your postcode, the qualities of schools are often highly differential.

The differentiation in your parents’ salary may determine what type of school you go to whether you go to a private school. So education, in that sense, acts as a filter for social class, whether you can afford a house in a nice area, a wealthy area where there are good schools, or you live in a poor area. So those dimensions, I think, reproduced himself around the world in a sense that education is often highly stratified. But there are also other dimensions of the way education reproduces inequality in terms of, for example, language.

The language issue is a big one whose language gets taught in countries and whose languages get marginalized and what is the effect of that on those that speak that marginalized language? How do they perform in schools? Do they perform less well? If so, what’s the effect of that in the long term? And then in terms of even the content, the curriculum content of schooling, let’s think about you are from a minority community in a particular country, and you’re learning about the heroes of that nation, and none of your communities are ever represented. They’re always representations from other communities, how does that make you feel? What does it lead to? So there’s a lot of ways that education can reproduce alienation. And of course, vice versa, a highly equitable, inclusive open education system may be able to smooth over some of those inequalities that are inherited through generation.

Will Brehm:  16:17
And is part of the inheriting through generations related to imperialism, as you said earlier?

Mario Novelli:  16:24
Yes, certainly, if you’re looking at, let’s take the exploration of the African curriculum, what we see is a legacy of colonial interventions into the national education system. So take a country like Kenya that inherited its education system, from years of colonial rule where there was a highly elitist education system where for the vast majority were excluded and the minority were selected to play roles in the civil service, a small elite, that model of education still carries on to reproduce a highly unequal class structure, often justified by education attainment, but actually pre-ordained through social class.

Will Brehm:  17:27
I’d like to shift gears here to look at some of your work in educational development, particularly in countries like South Sudan or Myanmar and some more of these conflict areas as you said earlier. What have you found how inequalities kind of manifest and function inside education in some of these conflict areas or countries that have experienced conflict?

Mario Novelli:  18:00
Right. Well, maybe I should take a step back. I think that development itself as a field is a highly contradictory field. On the one hand, international development has this idea within it of the rest catching up with the West. This idea that through the study of development, national ex-colonial states, postcolonial states will eventually catch up with the West. But at the same time, international development for other thinkers is a mechanism through which the chains of colonialism were the armies were replaced by new mechanisms, new chains, which with far less visible, not necessarily less powerful than the troops. And so I think that the field itself reproduces some of these dilemma wherever it goes in a sense, the question of, is international development, doing good?

And redressing some of these inequalities or actually, is it there to reproduce them in different modes in different ways. And I think that you see that all around, you know, you see, for example, in Sierra Leone, the role of the international peacekeeping community that came during the war, and after the war in the 1990s, massively increasing the cost of housing and accommodation in the central rise, forcing prices of food up as the international community intervenes in the conflict. And it’s those kinds of things, you know, some would say, the unintentional effects of intervention, which often reproduce or exacerbate inequalities and the same you can go for looking at international intervention in education systems, are they improving the system? Are they reducing inequalities? Or are they actually exacerbating those? And, you know, depending where you’re looking, you have different answers. I mean, Kenya, come back to Kenya, just because I’ve done work in there recently. And the British government DFID has been promoting low cost basic education for poor communities and private schooling for poor communities, which is it seems to be having a demonstrable negative effect on poor communities. And that’s being pushed by an international development agency in the name of doing good, but actually seems to be having devastating effects. So I think that when I teach students of international development, which I do every year, and I always kind of ask them at the beginning of the class, how they feel about entering the field of international development. And they always say, you know, we’re really pleased, we want to, you know, help in Africa, we want to help in Asia. And I say, well, I hope by the end of the course, that you feel a little bit ashamed as well. And that by the end of the course, you actually think that some of the things that have been done in the name of development are actually just as bad as some of the things that have been done in the name of war.

Will Brehm:  22:02
Is that how you feel?

Mario Novelli:  22:06
Ah yes, largely I mean, as I said, it’s a contradictory field. If I thought that it was only doing bad I wouldn’t remain inside the field. But there is a strong sense that like many other terrains, there is a battle going on, it’s the terrain of contestation, and you fight your battles inside that field, to push it in certain directions, and dependent on different social forces at different times, development moves in different directions, so take the 1980s and the global policy of structural adjustment that had an absolutely devastating effect on African and Latin American communities, massively increasing inequalities, and I don’t think anybody can say that that was a positive period.

But the reaction to that was a period of, let’s say, more social democratic approach, a range of different reforms, a range of different challenges to that model. Although I have to say that, you know, a lot of the remnants of that model still remain, particularly within some of the big institutions like the World Bank.

Will Brehm:  23:30
In your article, you say that you have to manage your existential angst when it comes to the contradictions of educational development. Do you have any tips for someone like myself, who does a little bit of work in international development as well and feel similar, conflicting kind of emotions working in that space?

Mario Novelli:  23:58
I think so. I mean, I am uncomfortable. And, you know, I’m happy to say that and I say it to everyone. But on the other hand, what I say to myself as well, in the field I work, which is on the relationship between education and conflict and violent conflict, if I didn’t engage with organizations and in the field, then I wouldn’t be able to make any commentary on it. So I kind of say that you have to, in a sense, get your hands dirty, in order to have some legitimacy in the debates that you’re entering into.

And so in a sense, I wouldn’t advocate for people not to engage, but they would engage cautiously. The second area, I think that’s important is to understand that institutions I’ve been working for UNICEF, I think, for the last seven years, more or less, most of my research time, which is about half of my time, my work time, for the last seven years, has been involved with UNICEF. And I think that what I’ve learned from that experience is that these institutions themselves are not homogenous, there are different actors, different processes going on. And in a sense, often what happens is, you get picked up by certain actors, they kind of know what they’re looking for, and pick people that think that they can deliver that. So in a sense, you get caught up in political battles that are going on in institutions, and you often get picked up and then dropped by these institutions. But I think that you can learn a lot. And I think the good thing about yourself, myself, if we’re academics, and not consultants, we’re not only as good as our last job, we have our own job to go back to, we can select, we can be a bit more selective about what we get involved in. And I think that, you know, the problem with full time consultants is that actually, they’re always looking for their next job. And so they’re always trying to please the people who are paying them. And I think that leads sometime to some complicity in the production of information and evidence. So I would say for people to engage when they engage, within a sense, real world research that they enter into that domain cautiously, and also recognize, you know, some of the constraints.

Will Brehm:  26:48
So part of this work that you’ve done kind of straddling both the researcher and the consultant practitioner in educational development is that you’ve ended up with your team, putting together a framework of trying to understand inequality and education in ways that are probably more robust and complex than those being put forward by others. Can you talk a little bit about your framework and the value that you think it has?

Mario Novelli:  27:22
Yeah, well, as you were saying, I’ve been leading or co-leading a Research Consortium between the University of Amsterdam and the University of Ulster, where we’ve been working in a range of different countries on the relationship between education and peace building. So when we came in, we had a lot of initial meetings around how would we conceptualize peace building in education, and then how would we apply that in the field to start analyzing different countries.

Now, that project began on the back of an earlier one that I did with Professor Alan Smith, between 2010 and 2012. And in that we looked at Lebanon, Nepal, and Sierra Leone, and explored the relationship between education and conflict. And through that analysis, we develop to critique of the international community’s approach to peace building. And the location of education there in which was essentially that the broad approach of the international community to peacebuilding was a kind of security first liberal peace approach. And I’ll just explain those very quickly. And essentially, the argument was that you need to have security before anything else can move forward. So you need to retrain the military, retrain the police, sort the prison system out and then the social development, education, health can come later. And this is also tied with an argument that there was a kind of process of the reconstruction of a conflict affected state that you need to have security, then democracy, then open the country to open the markets up, allow the economy to develop, and then eventually, the rest of this stuff will follow. And basically, our critique of that was that it produced a kind of negative piece, the violence stopped. But the reasons that underpin the violence often remained, and the things that underpinned that violence was often inequalities. So I remember that we went to rural villages in Sierra Leone and ask questions around, you know, 10 years after the peace process, what has peace brought? And often the response was very little. So communities largely saw little benefit from peace in terms of their material lives, their access to education, their access to water, etc. And what we argued was that that approach, while short termly successful in the long term was laying the seeds for another conflict, that they hadn’t addressed the reasons why the conflict broke out in the first place. And we see that reproduced in many parts of the world. So that’s our starting point to say that we need a more social peace building model and more health and education are important.

So from that, with the new research project that we’ve done over the last couple of years, we developed a kind of social justice plus reconciliation approach, which we called the four Rs.

We took the first three Rs from Nancy Fraser’s work on social justice: redistribution, recognition, and representation. So economic inequality, cultural inequality, and political inequality. And we also added the fourth R of reconciliation, which was basically that you needed to address the drivers of conflict, which were often economic inequality, political and cultural inequality. But after a period of war, you also need to bring communities together, you need to have process of reconciliation.

And in a sense, those are often in contradiction. On the one hand, if you want to address those inequalities, you have to upset people, you have to redress, redistribute, reorganize. If you try to reconcile people, you need to deal with the legacies of conflict, which means often bringing them together. So those four different Rs, those four different dimensions working together, provided us in a sense, with the kind of roadmap to explore different countries approaches to education, so allowed us to look at different dimensions of the education system, how much money is spent on the education system? Where does it go? How is it distributed? Who gets what, where? Why don’t others get more? It also allows us to look at recognition which cultures are rarified, which languages which histories which communities are marginalized. It allows us to ask about representation, political issues, who gets to make decisions about issues in the education system that affect them? Who are marginalized and excluded from those decisions? And then finally, what is the education system doing in terms of reconciliation in terms of bringing communities back together after war? Is the school an obstacle to that process of reconciliation or a facilitator for that? So we looked at those different dimensions, and then produced a range of Country Reports around that looking at different aspects of them. And, you know, all kind of heuristic approaches have their limitations. But I think that it’s had some important policy effects. It has been taken up by a range of different national governments, I’m thinking South Sudan and South Africa, in particular. So you know, I’m pretty pleased with that.

Will Brehm:  33:55
One of your critiques about Thomas Piketty earlier was that he focused on empiricism. And in a sense, he wasn’t taking a critical realist approach about trying to realize that there are, there’s a social ontology more than empiricism. So some things we can’t see that that are important, or structures that exist that determine behavior and action that can’t necessarily be seen. How does your framework include a critical realist perspective?

Mario Novelli:  34:34
Well, I mean, I think that that framework, the four R’s is only a beginning, in a sense that all it is this kind of coat hangers to hang different dimensions of injustices and inequalities on what matters then is how you theorize and understand the underpinnings of those inequalities. Yeah, how did they emerge? What are their drivers, and I think that’s why in the sociology paper that you talk about on Piketty, I’ve tried to talk about the interaction between capitalism, imperialism and modernity and the complex and into weaved ways that these three phenomena intersect to reproduce those inequalities.

Will Brehm:  35:29
Well, Mario Novelli, thank you so much for joining Fresh Ed. It was really wonderful to talk on so many different topics.

Mario Novelli:  35:35
Thank you very much for inviting me.

Will Brehm:  1:58
Mario Novelli,欢迎你做客FreshEd

Mario Novelli: 2:01

Will Brehm:  2:03
针对法国经济学家托马斯·皮凯蒂(Thomas Piketty)于2013年的著作《21世纪资本论》,《英国教育社会学杂志》出了一期特刊。作为特刊的撰稿人之一,可否总结一下皮凯蒂在《21世纪资本论》中的主要论点,以及它有何特殊之处会使得一本教育期刊专门出特辑讨论呢?

Mario Novelli:  2:33

Will Brehm:  4:11

Mario Novelli:  4:28




Will Brehm:  7:03

Mario Novelli:  8:07

Will Brehm:  9:33

Mario Novelli:  9:42
需要澄清的是,人力资本是一方面,我并不否认其重要性,但教育和资本主义之间的关系要复杂得多。首先,我想引用一下罗杰·戴尔(Roger Dale)的观点,他于上世纪70年代发表的《教育与资本主义国家》一文中反思了教育与资本积累的关系(即人力资本)、教育与社会凝聚力的关系(即教育系统能否起到使不同人群和谐相处的作用),以及教育与合法性的关系(即教育使学生接受他们所处地位与社会现状)。所以,从某种意义上说,教育具有正当合法、凝聚社会和积累资本的作用。罗杰一直表示这三点未必能兼得。比如,如果强调资本积累,那么社会凝聚力可能会因为择优性而受损。如果过分强调合法性,那么资本积累和社会凝聚力也会被削弱。这其中有很多重矛盾。这是我认为第一个值得回顾的重要观点。

第二点是一种比较新的现象,即在自我投资和生产方面,或者说教育在经济增产中的作用不仅是人力资本,而是成为一种重要的商品形式。自20世纪末至21世纪初,教育是发展最快的行业之一,大学和国际学校不断扩张。因此如今,教育本身也变成了经济交换的一种形式。这一点需要更加深入仔细的研究,但正如我们的特刊中苏珊·罗伯森(Susan Robertson)强调的,皮凯蒂的书里完全忽略这一点。


Will Brehm:  13:21

Mario Novelli:  13:47


Will Brehm:  16:17

Mario Novelli:  16:24

Will Brehm:  17:27

Mario Novelli:  18:00



Will Brehm:  22:02

Mario Novelli:  22:06

Will Brehm:  23:30

Mario Novelli:  23:58



Will Brehm:  26:48

Mario Novelli:  27:22





Will Brehm:  33:55

Mario Novelli:  34:34

Will Brehm: 35:29
Mario Novelli,很高兴能聊到这么多的话题,感谢你的分享!

Mario Novelli: 35:35

Have any useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com
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In a recent paper for the University of Johannesburg, Raewyn Connell shared some of her thinking on the decolonization of knowledge. In many ways she aimed to re-think the history of knowledge itself, moving away from the Northern bias and colonial structures in mainstream social science. She argues, “The relationship between knowledge produced in different parts of the world is not as simple as “Western” domination. Knowledge flows in multiple directions from the metropole to the periphery and from the periphery to the metropole.”

Raewyn is a Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney. She has been an advisor to United Nations initiatives on gender equality and peacemaking, and, in 2010, the Australian Sociological Association established the Raewyn Connell Prize for the best book in Australian sociology.

Citation: Connell, Raewyn, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 35, podcast audio, August 1, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/raewynconnell/

Will Brehm:  2:12
Raewyn Connell, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Raewyn Connell:  2:15
I am glad to be here.

Will Brehm:  2:17
In a recent paper for the University of Johannesburg, you shared some of your thinking on the decolonization of knowledge. Now for you to decolonize knowledge, it must be colonized in the first place. So how do you see knowledge is being colonized?

Raewyn Connell:  2:40
Well, that’s got a number of dimensions.

It is a very live issue in South Africa at the moment because there’s a Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town, but it’s also been an issue around the majority world, the postcolonial world, for generations, in fact. And it’s an issue, now, of course, because of what’s happened over the last four or 500 years as global empires have been created, and then a global economy with its center in the rich countries of the Global North. And parallel to that material economies, if you like, is an economy of knowledge in which information, concepts, ways of thought, methodologies, and so forth, all circulate, and are exchanged, and that has been very strongly shaped by the growth of Empire, and then the inequality as it is the neoliberal economy. And that’s what we’re referring to when we talk about the colonization of knowledge or the interconnection, if you like, between colonialism and the construction of knowledge. So we have now in the world an economy of knowledge of dominant knowledge formation in which the colonized world has been very important historically, but hasn’t controlled what’s going on.

And to the extent that intellectual workers in the global periphery have been able to participate in recent generations, they fundamentally had to do so in the terms that are laid down by knowledge institutions in the Global North, reflecting their point of view on the world and their historical experiences. So, when we talk about the decolonization of knowledge, we’re talking about the various ways in which that history and that current massive structure of inequalities is being addressed and contested and slowly in small steps gradually changed.

Will Brehm:  5:10
So, you say that empire and neoliberal economies are shaping this dominant knowledge that is colonizing knowledge around the world.

Raewyn Connell:  5:23
Absolutely. And that’s a very familiar point actually, in the history of science. So, if you read, you know, Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle,for instance, one of the most famous scientific documents ever written where the young Charles Darwin sailed around the world with his British Navy survey ship and collected specimens and did geological observations. He looked at the famous finches in the Galapagos Islands, looked at coral reefs, and out of that, over a long period of reflection and maturation but to very significant extent out of that experience, came modern biology, modern theories of evolution.

And you can tell that kind of story or you can see elements of that kind of story in the history of many other scientific fields, too. Astronomy, for instance, you know, half of the heavens, if you like, are visible from the southern hemisphere. The southern knowledge from the southern hemisphere has been quite important in particular fields of astronomy. In the social sciences too and this is in a way, the first way I came to understand these kinds of issues because I’m a sociologist. You look at the history of sociology, we’re given various myths about how it was all about modernization in Europe and Weber and Marx and so forth. But actually if you look back in the very early days of sociology, it was very largely about knowledge from the colonized world which was built into a 19th century narrative of progress and what I call the image or a model of global difference between the primitive and the advanced but then became the framework of all modern sociology up until about the time of the first World War.

So, the encounter between European colonizers and the colonized societies has been really formative for the history of what we inaccurately call Western science. In fact, it has always been global science, though in the last two, 300 years, it has been essentially centered in the rich and powerful states of the Global North.

Will Brehm:  7:56
And you said that oftentimes those people who are creating knowledge in the Global South or in postcolonial states, or even in colonial states, they are using the same framework and concepts that are developed by Western or, you know what is seen as, quote-unquote, “Western scientists.” Can you give an example of how that is happening?

Raewyn Connell:  8:22
Oh, well, if you like, you know, stand in any country in the periphery and look around you, and you will see it.

Not all knowledge producers are doing this, but this is, if you like, the official knowledge formation in the university system. It is what is recognized as a science, it’s what funded by government research funding agencies, it is what the Chinese have been building as they restructure the university system, you know. I look around myself at the University of Sydney here in Australia. And, you know, from in just about every direction, I see people who are doing research, constructing knowledge, within the framework of methods and theories and what’s observable and how you actually conduct yourself as a scientist, that is, you know, something like 97% imported from Europe and North America. And, that’s just typical of the official knowledge institutions globally. So, that’s why I talk about the situation of global hegemony in the mainstream knowledge formation.

So, I mean again, if I can mention my own discipline of sociology, you look at the local sociology journal, it’s called Journal of Sociologyand you know, the typical article in it is by an Australian or someone from New Zealand from the region. And it will have data from Australia or New Zealand or the region that the typical article in the journal, but the rest of theoretical framework in which is done will be Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, the modern masters of the Global North or, you know, Marx, Weber, Durkheim – that is the official founding fathers of the discipline.

And the methods that they will be following will again, typically not in absolutely every case, but overwhelmingly the case, the methods will be those that have been acquired from people who studied in American or European universities, want to do surveys or qualitative analysis or whatever it may be from Northern institutions or following Northern models that is regarded as proper scientific sociology. And if you operate in any other way, you are seen as, you know, not a proper, you’re likely to be seen as somehow not a proper sociologists or doing something bizarre or extraneous to the real businesses of the discipline, And that of course is not particular to sociology; that’s true in every discipline, with perhaps exception if it is a discipline of postcolonial studies where that exists, which isn’t very often.

And the little bits of the university where bits of indigenous knowledge begins to creep in but that is very, very much marginalized and in some parts of the university’s work, for instance, biomedical research, you don’t find it at all.

Will Brehm:  11:56
Let’s talk about some of the indigenous knowledge or these other ways of conducting research using different methodologies and different theories than those found in the Global North or in the West, particularly in Europe. So, can you describe some of these alternative ways of theorizing or using methods that are different than using Bourdieuor Durkheim?

Raewyn Connell:  12:24
Yeah, well, the first thing you’d say is that the very idea of constructing research or conducting research is, if you like, embedded currently in the dominant knowledge formation. So, for instance, people in indigenous communities in Australia, who are regarded as bearers of knowledge, would typically not see themselves as researchers. They would see themselves as bearers of knowledge, wisdom, knowhow. The knowledge will actually include a great deal of empirical knowledge, empirical information, data about their country, about their social relationships, about their people that will be part of their knowledge, but it is not organized in the form of research enterprise where you publish results in peer reviewed journals, and so on, and so forth. So we have to always understand that knowledge formations are social processes, social constructions, which had an institutional base and the modern university is, with certain interesting exceptions, but overwhelmingly this is true, is institutionally organized around the Northern dominated research-oriented knowledge system. So we think of as quote, “Western science,” unquote.

So we’re looking at different knowledge practices, sometimes different institutional basis, if we think, for instance, is another kind of knowledge formation, that is the Islamic knowledge, Islamic science. We are looking at a different institutional history because all amount the Islamic scholars has historically been organized in different kinds of institutions from the European University model, although there’s now an attempt, of course, the last hundred years or so have been attempts to synthesize this in the Islamic world, not in the Christian world.

And in certain institutional pluralisms, in that kind of context, if you’re looking at indigenous communities, say, in South America, or Australia, or the Pacific Islands, you’re looking at groups who have not historically had large knowledge institutions like either the Islamic or the European model. And there the institutional basis of knowledge is likely to be ceremonies, age gradings, cohorts, communities as a different shape.

This will make it a little difficult to plug out of those contexts, a kind of abstracted knowledge. Label it indigenous knowledge and, say, okay, we can take this as our framework and start publishing in mainstream European or North American journals. That model does not seem to work, or at least it is very hard to get working.

It is not totally out of the question. There are people who tried to do this, for instance, picking up some theories from the Islamic scholar, Ibn Khaldun from the Maghreb North West Africa some hundreds of years ago, as a kind of classic social theorist and trying to do analysis of contemporary problems in the kinds of terms that he was working out. There are some people who do that, but that does not have a major presence, either in Islamic scholarship or in the research-oriented mainstream.

Will Brehm:  16:48
I think, it is interesting that, you know, it is oftentimes we try and contrast the Western science with this quote-unquote, indigenous scientists, if it’s the same sort of, you know, body, that body of knowledge that can be, you know, in a sense, taken as Western knowledge, but really, you’re saying that there’s all sorts of different ways that knowledge is formed, and economies of knowledge operate.

Raewyn Connell:  17:17
And we should not be surprised at this, because this is also true in the Global North. You know, there is this formal knowledge system in the education system in the, you know, organized in the elite level in the universities, research institutes, and so forth. But there are other knowledge formations in the society for the Global North too. There are local knowledge formations, ways of thinking, ways of knowing, ways of understanding the natural world that you find, for instance, in rural communities in Europe or North America that do not correspond in any simple way to the mainstream knowledge institutions. So this is not the West versus the rest at all, although there are power relations, and there is a, when I talk about a knowledge economy, this is not exactly a metaphor, I mean, there are actually flows and exchanges going on. And the main pattern of that, which was pointed out particularly by West African philosopher whom I greatly admire called Paulin Hountondji.

The main pattern of the global economy is knowledge is much the same as in the material economy. That is, the majority world serve as a source of raw material, just as in the material economy, you know is a production of minerals, oil, agricultural products, crops and so forth, which is shipped to the Global North to supply the way of life there.

So there is a flow of data usually fairly raw, sometimes more processed. And that’s a form of contestation that goes on now to how much knowledge producers in the global periphery are able to control the development of and processing of knowledge.

For instance, in the AIDS area: AIDS research is now dominated by biomedical researchers with a strong presence of social sciences too. There are in fact contestations going on in Southern Africa, which has the highest burden of HIV infection in the world at exactly this point, because the dominant Northern model of biomedical research, AIDS, now involves very tightly controlled, very large multivariate trials of different forms of drug treatment of HIV infection. And the old model for this has been that this was very expensive kind of research to do. The only two forces of funding on that scale are governments in the Global North, such as the Center for Disease Control in the United States, or drug companies also in the Global North, and they want therefore, if you are paying for it, they want to control it. But this collection of data, absolutely rely on some knowledge workers in Southern Africa, who have been claiming more and more that their expertise and their labor is central to this place, process. They should have a great deal, more control, and responsibility and recognition in it and has been given them in the past. So, they’ve got a kind of contestation about the inequalities of knowledge production that’s going on in this you know, if you like heartland area of biomedical research. And this is not exactly a confrontation between indigenous knowledge and wisdom fans.

It’s within broadly the framework of biomedical research, but it’s recognizing the global dimension of this, and the multiple players and forms of expertise are involved in producing mainstream forms of knowledge.

Will Brehm:  22:08
It seems quite similar to the example that you used earlier on Albert Einstein and his work in the Portuguese colonies.

Raewyn Connell:  22:17
Yeah, well, Albert himself did not go there. It’s a lovely story, actually.

I wonder, we do not think of nuclear physics or relativity theory, cosmology and so forth as the most Northern and abstract and pure science stuff.

And indeed, Albert who developed the first version of the theory of relativity, when he was working in Switzerland, then went to Germany, when he was working on general relativity, published his famous papers on general relativity in the middle of the First World War.

And because science is a little more international than national politics, this is read by scientists in Britain. And when Germany, you know, was defeated in the First World War, lost all of its colonies, lost everything. It was British scientists who worked out the way to test Albert’s theory through, which predicted the deflection of light on the gravity, something that in Newtonian cosmology was impossible.

But Einstein not only predicted it but worked out how much it would probably be mathematically. And it was British scientists, who then thought, aha, the solar eclipse coming up, which we can be observed from the South Atlantic. So they set up observatories wanting some Portuguese controlled Island off the coast of Africa, and the other one on the other side of the South Atlantic in Brazil, which is the largest former Portuguese colony, did their observations, took this very famous picture of the sun being eclipsed, and, lo and behold, the star, the images of the stars near the surface whose light passed near the surface of the sun was deflected about as much as Einstein’s theory had predicted. That experiment was what made Einstein world famous, and it was knowledge that came from the colonized and postcolonial world. And without, you know, that connection, the theory of relativity would not be tested in that way.

So, I mean, that is a quite a stark example, if you like, of the global dimension in what is conventionally called wisdom and science. But so many fields of knowledge have absolutely depended on flows of data and, behind them, certain form of expertise, sometimes practical, sometimes knowledge work in the Global South.

What we are really looking at then is an international knowledge economy, where wealth and authority are centered in the Global North, where those institutions of the Global North still, to quite striking degree, depend on data flows from the rest of the world. Think of climate science, think of all these climate models, things have been so central to political debate about climate change in the last, you know, 10 – 15 years, where do you think the data from them come, a great deal of it comes from Global South.

Will Brehm:  26:01
So do you see any counter currents in terms of the flow of knowledge?

Raewyn Connell:  26:06
Yeah, look, there has always been contestation of these processes. There has always been a degree of dependence by the North. This is not just a single northern dominance, southern subordination scenario. So northern science, if you like, northern controlled science operating in the south, always depended on practices, knowledge, institutions, and so forth in the Global South, so there is sort of dependence there. There have been many appropriations, partial appropriations and changes of so-called Western thinking, Western concepts, series, and methods in countries that were under colonial or semi-colonial influence. You know, there’s a whole history of that in India, there’s a history of that in China, which was not directly colonized or quasi colonized for 50 or 60 years, and where a whole couple of generations of intellectuals, you know, address themselves to adapting European knowledge systems for Chinese use, something that’s still going on.

And there have been – and this is something that I, you know, center my discussion on in the book Southern Theory– there is theoretical work that goes on in the colonized and postcolonial world. So although the mainstream knowledge formation has a division of labor, where theory and method are developed in the Global North, data gathering occurs around the global periphery. What that does, actually is ignore the production of concepts, methodologies, and analyses by the intellectuals of the colonized world. And when you go looking for it, which of course, most conventional research in the social sciences doesn’t do, but when you go looking for it, there’s a really rich literature of social analysis from the colonized and then the postcolonial world. So there’s a rich tradition of cultural analysis and debate in India, in the Arab world, in the Islamic world more general. This fascinating intellectual debates and analyses, sociological reasoning in Iran, for instance, influenced by Shia Islam.

And, you know, in colonized and postcolonial Africa, in Latin America, I mean this is a rich source of those ideas, theories and debates about society which has historically been marginalized from mainstream social science, but are there, and in the very beginning to contest the current situation.

So yeah, look, there’s always been contestation around this. There’s probably more contestation now. I think certainly in the social sciences is something of a movement going on in social science at the moment of the decolonial, decolonizing southern perspective kind. It still hasn’t come to be a dominant form of thinking in social science yet. But it certainly is a lively presence at the moment.

Will Brehm:  30:17
So, this may sound like a stupid question, but where would you find the ideas that you were talking about in terms of southern theory in say, India or Iran? Like, are these ideas that are inside national research journals? Or do they appear in other places?

Raewyn Connell:  30:40
Well, as I tell my students, no questions are stupid. But sometimes the answers are.

You can find some of this in academic journals, but not a great deal. Why? Because academic journals are characteristic of, you know, institutional forms of the dominant knowledge formation and the tendency in, you know, if you look at, again, because I’m a social scientist, I know this field best, if you look at the social science journal published in India or China or Australia or South Africa, you will typically find that structure that I suggested before that is northern theory, southern data.

But you may also find some contestation of that, you may find some writing, you will find actually some writing about local intellectuals who have moved outside that framework. When I’ve gone looking for this kind of material, I have looked very, you know, very widely indeed. I have gone way outside conventional academic sources.

I have haunted secondhand bookshop. I have browsed libraries. I have looked for genres which would not, you know, normally occur in the bibliography of a mainstream social science journal article. So, for instance, some really quite interesting social analysis by a guy like Ali Shariati in Iran is in the form of a sermon.

There is a considerable amount of social analysis in books that might be though of as politically polemic.

Let me give two examples of that by people who are very famous in their own areas but not widely known in the Global North. One is Ambedkar, who was the moving spirit behind the writing of the Indian constitution after independence, very important figure. He published an analysis of the caste system, which incidentally was very critical of Gandhi, whom Ambedkar thought was not serious about contesting the caste system and the social exclusion of the underneath caste. And that I think is a very interesting document from the point of view of social analysis of stratification studies in fact. Go to another continent to Southern Africa, again going back into history – Ambedkar’s stuff that I’m thinking about was written in the 1930s – go back to the time of First World War, there’s a remarkable book called Native Life in South Africawritten by Sol Plaatje published in 1916. Sol Plaatje was a younger, contemporary of Durkheim and Weber. This book is not the story of an African farm or an ethnography of a native community. It is actually an analysis based on field research of the impact of laws passed by the South African Union Government a few years before called the Natives Land Act, which was basically appropriating indigenous land for white commercial farmers.

So, this is a massive land grab and forcing black families of their ancestral land to create a prosperous agricultural capitalist economy in South Africa. Plaatje was the secretary of the organization and later became the African National Congress, i.e., the current government of South Africa. And he bicycled around the country because he didn’t own a car, and doing fieldwork, collecting the narratives with the families who’ve been forced off their land and wrote it up in his book, together with an account of the political processes involved. The book was published in England in an attempt to influence the British government to override this legislation, which conspicuously failed to do.

That is a marvelous piece of social analysis and social research. It’s really, I think, the classic of world sociology. You never hear about it in mainstream sociology, mainstream histories of sociology, you know, because it’s written in a different genre in a colonized part of the world by a black guy, who no one in the mainstream ever heard about.

So I mean, those are just two examples that I could give hundreds and just seems to me that, you know, what currently exists as mainstream social science is terribly impoverished, because it doesn’t access this enormous wealth of thinking analysis, theory, concepts and data that exists in the colonized and postcolonial world.

Will Brehm:  37:00
And it’s interesting that you showed that it exists historically. And also in the present moment, there’s plenty of work being done. So, are you hopeful that universities that produce the dominant knowledge that’s, quote unquote, Western science? Are you hopeful that those institutions will change to begin to incorporate some more of this Southern theory or the indigenous knowledge, all the different examples that you have talked about today?

Raewyn Connell:  37:36
I blow hot and cold on this, I have to say. Sometimes, you know, when a discussion of some of these issues occurs, I think, yeah, mainstream institutions can do this and are beginning to pay attention and, you know, hybrid institutions that combined, say, the university form with indigenous knowledge or with Southern theory are coming into existence. So, for instance, a group of indigenous universities have recently been founded in Bolivia. And there’s more of this kind of work going on in Ecuador that I know of and there are, I know, similar kinds of work being done in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

So, and every now and again, we have a, you know, a panel or debate or plenary session on decolonizing knowledge, postcolonial perspectives in social science in a mainstream conference. In fact, next month, I am actually going to be speaking at the Nordic Sociological Association meeting in Finland precisely about these issues. So, there is interest in them. On the other hand, universities in some ways are getting more conventional and narrower as they are more tightly integrated into the neoliberal global economy, as say more university education is more commodified. Universities, like mine, here are getting to operate more and more like a profit-making corporation and becoming more and more obsessed with a position in global league tables.

And which according to conventional wisdom will determine their capacity to attract fee-paying overseas students and thus get lots and lots of money. And to appear well in the global league tables, you have to have published, people who publish in the most prestigious mainstream journals. Where are the most prestigious mainstream journals? In North America, Britain, and France.

And so there is now quite serious institutional pressure on researchers in countries like Australia to focus their publishing on Global North outlets, which means of course you have to publish within the conventions of knowledge using theories and methods that are familiar to the editors and reviewers for Global North journals, which means that, you know, southern theory, indigenous knowledge, alternative universalisms, all these formed Other knowledge formations – are nowhere.

They’re going to be squeezed out the more neoliberal commodification of these universities advances. So, look there is a struggle going on. It’s often an implicit struggle between democratic, what I see is as, democratic impulses in teaching and knowledge production and the forces of hierarchy, commodification, and convention on the other side.

And I don’t actually, you know, I find it very hard to predict what’s going to happen. It may be that there will be a growing split, a kind of shrinking narrow hierarchy obsessed body of eliet universities on the one hand, and the more democratic responses, but less well-resourced higher education system on the other. That’s one possible future.

Will Brehm:  41:55
Well, Raewyn Connell, thank you so much for joining FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell:  41:59
Glad to be here.

ويل بريهم: راوين كونيل، أهلًا بك في برنامج فريش إيد

راوين كونيل: أنا سعيد جدًا بوجودي معكم في البرنامج

ويل بريهم:في ورقة بحثية حديثة مقدمة إلى جامعة جوهانسبرج، حضرتك شاركت ببعض أفكارك عن موضوع إنهاء استعمار المعرفة. بالنسبة ليك، أن يتنهي استعمار المعرفة، هذا يعني في المقام الأول أن المعرفة مستعمرة. كيف ترى أن المعرفة  بتستعمَر؟

راوين كونيل: أوك، هذا الأمر له أبعاد كثيرة.هذه قضية حيوية جدًا في جنوب أفريقيا في الوقت الراهن نظرًا لحركة “ينبغي أن تسقط رودس” في جامعة كيب تاون، لكنها في الواقع أيضًا قضية مطروحة في الدول النامية، في مرحلة ما بعد الاستعمار، لعدة أجيال. وفي الواقع هي الآن قضية مهمة، بالتأكيد. وهذا بسبب ما حصل على مدار الـ 400 أو 500 سنة الماضية واللي شهدت قيام امبراطوريات عالمية، وكذلك ظهور اقتصاد عالمي بيتمركز في الدول الغنية الموجودة في شمال الكرة الأرضية بصورة خاصة.بالتوازي مع هذه الاقتصاديات المادية، هناك كمان اقتصاد المعرفة اللي فيه بيتم تداول وتبادل المعلومات والمفاهيم وطرق التفكير والمنهجيات وما إلى ذلك. وهذا اتشكل بقوة تأثرًا بنمو الإمبراطوريات الاقتصادية ثم عدم المساواةكما هو الحال فيالاقتصاد الليبرالي الجديد. ودا اللي هنشير إليه لما نتكلم عن استعمار المعرفة  أو التداخل بين الاستعمار وبناء المعرفة. عشان كدا احنا عندنا الآن في العالم ما يسمى باقتصاد المعرفة من خلال تكوين المعرفة المهيمنة واللي كان للعالم المستعمَر دور تاريخي هام للغاية فيها، لكنه مقدرش يتحكم فيها.

وبمقدار قدرة العاملين في المجال الفكري على مستوى العالم على المشاركة في بناء أجيال حديثة، كان عليهم أنهم يعملوا هذا بشكل أساسي بالشروط اللي وضعتها مؤسسات المعرفة في دول الشمال، بما يعكس وجهة نظرهم في العالم وخبراتهم التاريخية. علشان كدا، لما بنتكلم عن انهاء استعمار المعرفة، فاحنا بنتكلم عن الطرق المختلفة اللي بيتم من خلالها معالجة هذا التاريخ وهذا الكم الهائل من عدم المساواة ومواجهته وتغييره ببطء تدريجيُا.

ويل بريهم: إذًا، أنت بتقول إن هذه الإمبراطوريات والاقتصاديات الليبرالية الحديثة هي اللي بتشكل المعرفة المهيمنة اللي بتستعمر المعرفة حول العالم؟!

راوين كونيل: بالتأكيد. وهذا أمر مألوف للغاية في تاريخ العلوم. علشان كدا، إذا قرأت، كتاب داروين “رحلة البيجل”، على سبيل المثال، وهو أحد اشهر الوثائق العلمية المكتوبة على الإطلاق واللي فيه أبحر الشاب الصغير تشارلز داروين حول العالم بواسطة سفينته البحرية البريطانية وجمع العينات وسجل الملاحظات الجيولوجية. نظر إلى العصافير الشهيرة في جزر الجالاباجوس، وفحص الشعاب المرجانية. وبفضل هذه الخبرة إلى حد بعيد، على مدى فترة طويلة من التأمل والنضج، ظهرت البيولوجيا الحديثه ونظريات التطور الحديثة.

وانت كمان تقدر تحكي نفس القصة أو تقدر تشوف عناصرها في تاريخ كثير من المجالات العلمية الأخرى. علم الفلك، على سبيل المثال، أنت عارف أن نصف السماوات مرئي من نصف الكرة الجنوبي. فكانت المعرفة الجنوبية من نصف الكرة الجنوبي هامة للغاية في مجالات بعينها من علم الفلك. في العلوم الاجتماعية كمان، بكيفية ما، كان هذا هو الطريق الأول اللي من خلاله قدرت افهم هذه الأنواع من القضايا لأنني عالم اجتماع.

لما ننظر على تاريخ علم الاجتماع، سنجد أساطير كتيرة عن كيف أن كل شيء يخص الحداثة موجود لكن في أوروبا، ماركس وفيبر وما إلى ذلك. لكن في الحقيقة لو نظرنا على بداية علم الاجتماع، هنلاقي أنه كان يتعلق إلى حد بعيد بالمعرفة القادمة من العالم المستعمَر واللي أصبحت جزء من التقدم اللي حصل في القرن التاسع عشر، واللي أنا بسميها صورة أو نموذج الفرق العالمي بين علم الاجتماع البدائي، وعلم الاجتماع المتقدم؛ لكنها أصبحت بعد ذلك الإطار لكل علوم الاجتماع الحديث حتى وقت الحرب العالمية الأولى.

علشان كده، كان اللقاء بين المستعمرين الأوربيين والمجتمعات المُستعمرَة مكونًا حقيقيًا لتاريخ ما نسميهبشكل غير دقيق للعلم الغربي. في الواقع، هو كان دائمًا علم عالمي، على الرغم أنه في آخر 300 أو 400 سنة، كان مرتكز بشكل أساسي في الدول الغنية والقوية من شمال الكرة الأرضية.

ويل بريهم: أنت قلت قبل ذلك أن، في معظم الأحيان، اللي بيصنعوا المعرفة في دول الجنوب أو دول ما بعد الاستعمار، أو حتى في الدول الاستعمارية، بيستخدموا نفس الإطار والمفاهيم اللي طورها، بين قوسين، “العلماء الغربيين”. فهل ممكن تدينا مثال عن دا بيحصل ازاي؟

راوين كونيل: أها، بسيطة، أنت لو نظرت حواليك في أي دولة ودورت هتشوف دا كويس جدًا. مش كل صانعي المعرفة هما اللي بيعملوا دا، لكن هذا تكوين المعرفة الرسمية في النظام الجامعي. وهذا اللي بيُعترَف به كعِلم، وبيتم تمويله من قِبَل وكالات دعم البحوث الحكومية، ودا اللي بناه الصينيين وهما بيعيدوا هيكلة نظامهم الجامعي. أنا كمان لما أنظر حولي في جامعة سيدني هنا في أستراليا مثلًا بشوف أشخاص من كل مكان في العالم بيقوموا بأبحاث وبيشيدوا المعرفة من خلال إطار الأساليب والنظريات وما يمكن ملاحظته وكيف تتصرف كعالم. ودا بيتم استيراده بنسبة حوالي 97% من أوروبا وأمريكا الشمالية. وهذا تمامًا هو اللي حاصل في مؤسسات المعرفة الرسمية عالميًا. عشان كدا أنا بتكلم عن أوضاع الهيمنة العالمية في تكوين المعرفة العامة.

لو سمحتلي أتكلم مرة تاني عن تخصصي في علم الاجتماع، لما ننظر مجلة علم الاجتماع المحلية، واللي اسمها “مجلة علم الاجتماع”، سنجد أن المقال الرئيسي فيها مكتوب بواسطة شخص استرالي أو من نيوزيلندا أو من المنطقة. وهتلاقي فيه معلومات من أستراليا أو نيوزيلندا أو المنطقة، أما باقي الإطار النظري اللي المقال اتعمل من خلاله هيكون من بورديو، أو فوكو، أو جيدينز، وهما الرواد المعاصرين لعلم الاجتماع في الشمال أو من، زي ما انت عارف، ماركس، أو فيبر، أو دوركهايم – واللي هما الآباء المؤسسين الرسميين لعلم الاجتماع.

والأساليب اللي هيتم اتباعها هتكون مرة تاني، طبعًا مش في كل الحالات لكن في أغلبها، هي الأساليب المكتسبة من أشخاص درسوا في جامعات أمريكية أو أوروبية. فلو انت عايز تعمل مسح أو تحليل نوعي أو أيا كان اللي عايز تعمله، لازم تعمله وفقًا لنموذج المؤسسات الغربية أو النماذج الغربية لعلم الاجتماع واللي بيتم اعتبارها على انها علم الاجتماع الصحيح. وإذا اشتغلت بأي طريقة تانية، هيتم اعتبارك غير صحيح، وهيتم تقييمك بكيفية ما على انك مش عالم  اجتماع حقيقي أو أنك بتعمل حاجة غريبة عن ما هو متفق عليه. ودا مش بينطبق بس على علم الاجتماع لكن على أي مجال آخر، طبعًا هناك استثناءات إذا كان المجال في دراسات ما بعد الاستعمار، ودا ما بيحصلش كتير.

بدأت أجزاء من المعرفة المحلية بالزحف في أجزاء قليلة من الجامعة لكنها مهمشة جدًا جدًا. وفي بعض أبحاث الجامعة، على سبيل المثال، البحوث الطبية الحديثة متلاقيش فيها المعرفة المحلية على الإطلاق.

ويل بريهم: خلينا نتكلم عن بعض المعرفة المحلية أو الطرق الأخرى لاجراء البحوث باستخدام أساليب ونظريات مختلفة عن اللي موجودة في الشمال أو الغرب، وخصوصًا في أوروبا. فهل ممكن أنك توصفلنا بعض من هذه الأساليب البديلة في التنظير أو في استخدام طرق مختلفة عن بورديو ودوركهايم؟

راوين كونيل: طبعًا، وأول حاجة ممكن تقولها هي فكرة أن بناء البحوث أو اجرائها هي متضمنه حديثًا في تشكيل المعرفة المهيمنة. على سبيل المثال، الناس في المجتمعات الأصلية في استراليا، واللي بيتم اعتبارهم على أنهم حاملين للمعرفة، مش بيشوفوا نفسهم عادة كباحثين. لكنهم بيشوفوا نفسهم كحاملين للمعرفة والحكمة والعلم. وفي الواقع بتحتوي معرفتهم على قدر كبير من المعرفة والمعلومات التجريبية والبيانات عن دولتهم، وعن علاقاتهم الاجتماعية، وعن شعبهم. ودا بيكون جزء من معارفهم، لكنه مش منظم في شكل مشروع بحثي حيث تنشر النتائج في مجلات يتم مراجعتها، وما إلى ذلك، وهكذا. عشان كدا لازم نفهم دايمًا أن تكوينات المعرفة هي عمليات وبناءات اجتماعية لها أساس مؤسسي وأن الجامعة الحديثة، مع استثناءات خاصة لكن بشكل عام هذا حقيقة، بيتم تنظيمها مؤسسيًا حول نظام المعرفة بحسب التوجه البحثي اللي بيهيمن عليه الشمال. احنا بنفكر وفقًا لما نسميه “العلم الغربي”.

احنا بنبحث في الممارسات المعرفية المختلفة وأحيانًا في قاعدة مؤسسية مختلفة، إذا اعتقدنا أنها تمثل نوع آخر من تشكيل المعرفة زي المعارف أو العلوم الإسلامية. وهنا احنا بنبحث في تاريخ مؤسسي مختلف لأن كل هذه الأعداد من العلماء المسلمين تشكلوا تاريخيُا في مؤسسات مختلفة عن النموذج الغربي للجامعة، على الرغم أنه كانت هناك محاولات، بالتأكيد، في المئة سنة الأخيرة، لتوليف هذا الأمر في العالم الإسلامي مش في العالم المسيحي.

وفي بعض التعدديات المؤسسية، في هذا النوع من السياق، لو كنت بتبحث في مجتمعات الشعوب الأصلية زي في أمريكا الجنوبية أو استراليا أو جزر المحيط الهادي، هتلاقي نفسك بتبحث في مجموعات مكنش ليها تاريخيُا مؤسسات معرفية كبيرة مثل النموذج الإسلامي أو النموذج الغربي. وهناك بتكون القاعدة المؤسسية للمعرفة أشبه بالمراسيم، أوالتصنيفات العمرية، أو الفئات، أو المجتمعات كشكل مختلف.

ودا هيخلي من الصعب بعض الشيء الخروج من هذه السياقات المجتمعية، وهذا نوع من المعرفة المجردة ممكن نسميها المعرفة الأصيلة أو المحلية للسياقات المجتمعية. كمان نقدر ناخد من هذا إطار ونبدأ في النشر في المجلات الرئيسية في أوروبا أو أمريكا الشمالية. هذا النموذج يبدو أنه لا يصلح أو على الأقل من الصعب للغاية العمل بيه.

ودا مش غير وارد بشكل كامل. في ناس حاولوا يعملوا هذا الأمر، مثلًا، اختيار بعض النظريات من عالم مسلم مثل ابن خلدون من المغرب، شمال غرب أفريقيا، من مئات السنين، كعالم اجتماع كلاسيكي ومحاولة تحليل المشاكل المعاصرة باستخدام المصطلحات اللي كان بيعمل بيها. وفيه البعض عمل كدا بس مش بشكل كبير سواء في البحوث الإسلامية أو التوجه البحثي السائد.

ويل بريهم: اعتقد انه أمر شيق، زي ما انت عارف، أن أحيانًا كتير بنحاول وبنقارن العلوم الغربية مع ما نسميه “العلماء المحليين”، فإذا كانت نفس الشكل، يمكن للشكل دا من المعرفة المحلية يتم اعتباره معرفة غربية، لكن حقيقي هذا معناه أن المعرفة يمكن أن تتشكل وأن اقتصاد المعرفة يمكن أن يعمل بكل أنواع الطرق المختلفة.

راوين كونيل: ولازم لا نفاجأ أبدا، لأن دا كمان حقيقة في دول الشمال. زي ما انت عارف، هذا النظام الرسمي من المعرفة موجود في نظام التعليم على المستوى المتقدم والمنظم في الجامعات والمؤسسات البحثية وما إلى ذلك. لكن كمان هناك أشكال أخرى من المعرفة في مجتمعات دول الشمال. ففي أشكال من المعرفة المحلية وطرق من التفكير وطرق معرفة وأساليب فهم العالم الطبيعي اللي نجدها في المجتمعات الريفية في أوروبا أو شمال أمريكا واللي مش بتتوافق بأي شكل مع مؤسسات المعرفة الرئيسية. علشان كدا احنا لا نتكلم عن الغرب في مقابل باقي دول العالم، على الرغم من وجود علاقات قوية، ولما بتكلم عن اقتصاد المعرفة، أنا مش مجرد بستخدم استعارة، لكن بالفعل هناك تدفقات وتداولات مستمرة للمعرفة كاقتصاد حقيقي. والنموذج الرئيسي لهذا الأمر، واللي تمت الإشار إليه على وجه الخصوص تم بواسطة فيلسوف أفريقي أنا معجب بيه جدُا اسمه بولين هاونتندجي، هو المعرفة.

والمعرفة كاقتصاد عالمي بيتطابق مع الاقتصاد المادي في أن معظم العالم بيعمل كمصدر للمواد الخام للمعرفة اللي بيتم شحنها لدول الشمال، زي بالظبط الوضع في الاقتصاد المادي، زي ما انت عارف أن باقي دول العالم هي مصدر انتاج المعادن والزيوت والمنتجات الزراعية والمحاصيل وما إلى ذلك، واللي بيتم شحنها إلى دول الشمال لاستمرار الحياة هناك.

عشان كدا فيه تدفق للمعلومات عادة ما يكون في شكل مادة خام، إلا أنه في بعض الأحيان بتكون المعلومات دي مُعالجة. ودا شكل من أشكال التنافس اللي بيمتد الآن إلى مدى قدرة منتجي المعرفة في العالم على التحكم في تطوير المعرفة ومعالجتها.

مثلًا، في مجال الإيدز: الباحثون في مجال الطب الحيوي بيهيمنوا على أبحاث الإيدز مع وجود قوي للعلوم الاجتماعية كمان. في الواقع هناك تنافس حاصل في جنوب أفريقيا مثلًا، واللي بيتحمل العبء الأكبر من الإصابة بمرض نقص المناعة في العالم في الوقت الحالي. ولأن نموذج بحوث الطب الحيوي لدول الشمال هو المهيمن، فمجال الايدز دلوقت بيحتوي على تجارب مقننة ومتنوعة تُجرى على أنواع مختلفة من أدوية فيروس نقص المناعة. النموذج القديم لهذه النوعية من الأبحاث كان مكلف جدًا. علشان كدا كانت قوى التمويل الوحيدة إما الحكومات في دول الشمال، زي مركز التحكم في الأمراض في الولايات المتحدة، أو شركات الأدوية في دول الشمال برضو، وكانت رغبتهم بسط السيطرةعلى هذا المجال، طالما بيتم الدفع ليهم. لكن هذه المجموعة من البيانات بالتأكيد بتعتمد على بعض العاملين في مجال المعرفة في جنوب أفريقيا، واللي كانوا بيدّعوا كتير إن خبرتهم ومجهودهم هو أمر أساسي. كان لازم يحظوا بقدر كبير من الأهمية والسيطرة والمسئولية والاعتراف بيهم، وهذا ما حصلوا عليه زمان. عشان كدا دخلوا في نوع من النزاع بخصوص عدم المساواة في انتاج المعرفة  اللي حاصل دلوقت في مجال البحوث الطبية الحيوية. ودا مش مجرد تحدي بين منتجي المعرفة من السكان الأصليين وبين محبي الحكمة، لكن هذا يأتي ضمن إطار البحوث في مجال الطب الحيوي على نطاق واسع وله بعد عالمي بيشترك فيه عدد كبير من اللاعبين ويشمل أشكال كتير من الخبرة في انتاج أشكال المعرفة السائدة.

ويل بريهم: هذا الكلام شبه النموذج اللي استخدمته قبل كدا الخاص بألبرت أينشتاين وعمله في المستعمرات البرتغالية.  

راوين كونيل: بالضبط، ألبرت نفسه لم يذهب هناك. في الواقع هذه قصة جميلة.

أنا مندهش، أحنا مش بنفكر في الفيزياء النووية أو النظرية النسبية أو علم الكونيات وما إلى ذلك على أنها أكثر العلوم الشمالية المجردة والنقية.

في الواقع، ألبرت اللي طور النسخة الأولى من النظرية النسبية، لما كان بيشتغل في سويسرا وبعدها سافر لألمانيا، لما كان بيشتغل على النسبية العامة، نشر أبحاثه الشهيرة في النسبية العامة في منتصف الحرب العالمية الأولى.

ولأن العلم له طابع عالمي أكثر من كونه قومي أو محلي، فهذه الأبحاث تمت قراءتها بواسطة علماء من بريطانيا. ولما ألمانيا انهزمت في الحرب العالمية الأولى، فقدت كل مستعمراتها، فقدت كل شيء. كان العلماء البريطانيون هما اللي اكتشفوا طريقة لاختبار نظرية ألبرت واللي تنبأت بانحراف الضوء عن الجاذبية، وهذا الأمر كان مستحيل في علم الكونيات بحسب نيوتن.

لكن أينشتاين مش بس تنبأ بانحراف الضوء، لكنه كمان اكتشف مقداره المحتمل رياضيًا. وكان العلماء البريطانيين هما اللي فكروا وتنبأوا بقدوم خسوف الشمس، واللي يمكن ملاحظته من جنوب المحيط الأطلسي. عشان كدا أنشأوا مراصد؛ واحد منهم على إحدى الجزر اللي كانت بتحكمها البرتغال على ساحل افريقيا، والتاني على الجانب الآخر من جنوب المحيط الأطلسي في البرازيل، ودي كانت أكبر مستعمرة برتغالية. وبالفعل سجلوا ملاحظاتهم، وألتقطوا الصورة المهمة جدًا لخسوف الشمس، وكمان، بشكل مدهش، التقطوا صور للنجوم القريبة من السطح واللي انطفأ ضوئها بالقرب من سطح الشمس بالظبط زي ما تنبأ أينشتاين. التجربة كانت سبب شهرة أينشتاين عالميًا، وكانت بمثابة معرفة قادمة من عالم الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار. ومن غير هذا الاتصال، زي مانت عارف، ما كانش هيتم اختبار النظرية النسبية بهذه الطريقة.

عشان كدا، هذا مثال صارخ للبعد العالمي لما يتم تسميته تقليديًا بالحكمة والعلوم. لكن كتير من مجالات المعرفة اعتمدت بالتأكيد على تدفق المعلومات وبيتبعها شكل معين من الخبره، اللي أحيانًا تكون عملية وأحيانًا أخرى تكون عمل معرفي في دول الجنوب.

اللي احنا فعلًا بصدده هو اقتصاد عالمي للمعرفة، فيه الثروة والقوة مرتكزة في دول الشمال، حيث لاتزال مؤسسات الشمال العالمي دي بتعتمد على تدفق المعلومات من باقي أنحاء العالم بدرجة مذهلة. فكر فيعلم المناخ مثلًا، فكر في كل هذه النماذج المناخية، في الأمور المحورية في الجدال السياسي عن التغير المناخي في العشر أو الخمستاشر سنة اللي فاتت، في رأيك جات منين البيانات؟ قدر كبير منها جاء من دول الجنوب.

ويل بريهم: هل انت شايف أي تيارات مضادة بخصوص تدفق المعرفة؟

راوين كونيل: نعم، دايمًا هناك نزاع حول هذه العمليات. كان دايمًا فيه درجة من الاعتمادية بواسطة الشمال. ودا مش مجرد هيمنة أحادية من الشمال، أو سيناريو تبعية من الجنوب. عشان كدا العلوم الشمالية، أو لو عايز تقول، العلوم اللي بيسيطر عليها الشمال واللي بتتعمل في الجنوب، دايمًا بتعتمد على ممارسات ومعارف ومؤسسات وما إلى ذلك في الجنوب العالمي، علشان كدا هناك نوع من الاعتمادية. كان فيه الكتير من الاستيلاء أو الاستيلاء الجزئي والتغيرات اللي فرضها ما يسمى بالتفكير الغربي، أو المفاهيم أو النظريات أو الأساليب الغربية على الدول اللي كانت تحت التأثير الاستعماري أو شبه الاستعماري. انت عارف أن فيه تاريخ كامل لهذا الأمر في الهند والصين، واللي مكانوش مستعمَرين بشكل مباشر أو شبه مستعمَرين لمدة 50 أو 60 سنة، لكن هناك جيلين كاملين من المفكرين لجأوا لتعديل أنظمة المعرفة الأوربية للاستخدام الصيني، وهو أمر مازال مستمر.

وكان فيه- ودي حاجة كانت محور مناقشتي في كتاب النظرية الجنوبية: عمل نظري مستمر في عالم الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار. عشان كدا تكوين المعرفة السائد عنده تقسيم للعمل، واللي فيه بيتم تطوير النظرية والأسلوب في دول الشمال، وبيتم تجميع البيانات من كل مكان في العالم. ودا بيعمل في الحقيقة تجاهل لانتاج المفاهيم والمنهجيات والتحليلات من قبل مفكري العالم المُستعمَر. ولما تدور على دا، واللي بطبيعة الحال مش بتهتم بيه الأبحاث التقليدية في العلوم الاجتماعية، لكن لما تدور عليه هتلاقي هناك أدب غني جدًا في التحليل الاجتماعي من العالم المستعمَر وبعد كدا من عالم ما بعد الاستعمار. عشان كدا هناك تراث غني بالتحليل الثقافي والنقاش في الهند والعالم العربي والعالم الإسلامي بشكل عام. هذا النقاش والتحليل الفكري المذهل، والمنطق الاجتماعي في إيران على سبيل المثال تأثر بالإسلام الشيعي.

وزي مانت عارف، إن أفريقيا في فترة الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار وأمريكا اللاتينية، هما مصادر غنية لهذه الأفكار والنظريات والمناقشات عن المجتمع واللي تم تهميشها تاريخيًا من علم الاجتماع الغربي السائد، لكنها موجودة من البداية لتعلن اعتراضها على الوضع الراهن.

عشان كدا هناك دايمًا نزاع بخصوص هذا الأمر، وتزايد النزاع في الوقت الحاضر. أنا أعتقد أنه بالتأكيد في العلوم الاجتماعية عندنا نوع من الحراك اللي بيحصل في علم الاجتماع متزامن مع وقت انهاء استعمار المعرفة في دول الحنوب.

ويل بريهم: هسأل سؤال يبدو أنه غبي شوية، هتلاقي فين الأفكار اللي انت كنت بتتكلم عنها بخصوص النظرية الجنوبية في الهند أو إيران مثلًا؟  يعني؛ هل الأفكار دي موثقة في مجلات بحثية دولية؟ أو هي موجودة في أماكن تانية؟

راوين كونيل: تمام، زي ما بقول دايمًا لتلاميذي مفيش سؤال غبي لكن أحيانًا بتكون الإجابات هي اللي غبية.

ممكن نلاقي بعض هذه الأفكار في مجلات أكاديمية،  لكن مش كتير. ليه؟ لأن المجلات الأكاديمية بتتميز، زي ما انت عارف، انها بتميل للشكل المؤسسي للمعرفة المهيمنة. فإذا بصيت على مجلات العلوم الاجتماعية اللي اتنشرت في الهند أو الصين أو استراليا أو شمال أفريقيا- كمان مرة لأني عالم اجتماعي، فانا عارف كويس المجال دا- هتلاقي بالظبط البناء اللي انا اقترحته قبل كدا، واللي هو النظرية الشمالية مقابل البيانات الجنوبية.

لكن كمان ممكن تقدر تلاقي بعض النزاع حوالين دا، فهتلاقي بعض الكتابات فعلا من مفكرين محليين خرجوا خارج هذا الإطار. لما أنا رحت أبحث على هذا النوع من البيانات، بحثت على نطاق واسع جدًا جدًا في الحقيقة. بحثت خارج المصادر الأكاديمية التقليدية.

زرت محلات الكتب المستعملة وبحثت في المكتبات. بحثت في أنواع الأدب اللي عادةً مش بتكون موجودة في قوائم المراجع المتعارف عليها في المقالات السائدة بخصوص علم الاجتماع. عشان كدا، على سبيل المثال، هناك بعض التحليلات الاجتماعية الشيقة عملها شاب زي “علي شريعتي” في إيران على شكل خطب دينية.

فيها كمية كبيرة من التحليلات الاجتماعية في كتب يمكن اعتبارها جدلية من النحية السياسية.

عندي مثالين لهذا الموضوع من خلال أشخاص مشهورين جدًا في مجالاتهم لكنهم مش معروفين على نطاق واسع في دول الشمال. الأول هو أمبيدكار واللي كان الروح المحركة وراء كتابة الدستور الهندي بعد الاستقلال، هو في الحقيقة شخصية هامة جدًا. نشر تحليل للنظام الطبقي، واللي كان بالمناسبة بينتقد غاندي لأن امبيدكار كان بيعتقد أنه مش جاد في مناهضة النظام الطبقي والاستبعاد الاجتماعي للطبقة الدنيا. وأنا أعتقد أن هذه الوثيقة مهمة من وجهة نظر التحليل الاجتماعي لدراسات التقسيم الطبقي في الواقع. كتابات أمبيدكار اللي أنا بفكر فيها اتكتبت في التلاتينيات. لما تروح لقارة تانية لأفريقيا الجنوبية، ومرة تانية بالرجوع للتاريخ لوقت الحرب العالمية الأولى، هنلاقي كتاب رائع اسمه “الحياة الأصلية في جنوب أفريقيا” كتبه سول بلاتج واتنشر سنة 1916. صول بلاتيج كان أصغر سنًا، وكان معاصر لدوركهايم وويبر. هذا الكتاب مش قصة حقل أفريقي أو أثنوجرافيا وصفية لمجتمع عرقي. لكنه في الواقع تحليل مؤسس على بحث ميداني عن تأثير القوانين اللي أقرتها حكومة جنوب افريقيا المتحدة قبل سنوات قليلة من تسميتها “قانون أراضي السكان الأصليين” واللي كان بيخصص أساسًا أراضي السكان الأصليين للمزارعين والتجار البيض.

دا كان استيلاء على الأراضي بطريقة واسعة وإجبار لأسر السود على ترك أراضي أجدادهم لخلق اقتصاد رأسمالي زراعي مزدهر في جنوب أفريقيا. بلاتج كان سكرتير المنظمة وبعدين أصبح السكرتير العام للكونجرس الأفريقي الوطني، اللي هو الحكومة الحالية لجنوب أفريقيا. وكان بيتجول بالدراجة في كل حته في البلد لأنه مكنش بيمتلك عربية، كان بيعمل بحث ميداني وبيجمع القصص من الأسر اللي تم اجبارها على مغادرة أراضيها، وكان بيدونها في كتابه في ضوء الأوضاع السياسية. هذا الكتاب اتنشر في إنجلترا في محاولة للتأثير على الحكومة البريطانية عشان تلغي القانون دا، لكن للأسف المحاولة لم تنجح.

هذا الكتاب هو بمثابة تحفة رائعة من التحليل والبحث الاجتماعي. أنا اعتقد أنه من كلاسيكيات علم الاجتماع العالمي، اللي انت عمرك ما سمعت عنه في علم الاجتماع السائد، أو التاريخ السائد لعلم الاجتماع لأنه مكتوب في قالب أدبي مختلف في الجزء المستعمَر من العالم بواسطة رجل أسود محدش سمع عنه في علم الاجتماع السائد.

دول مجرد مثالين من مئات الأمثلة اللي ممكن أذكرها. وأنا اعتقد أن اللي بيقدمه حاليًا علم الاجتماع السائد هو فقير جدًا لأنه مش بيوصل لهذه الثروة الهائلة من التحليلات والنظريات والمفاهيم الفكرية الموجودة في العالم المستعمَر وما بعد المستعمَر.

ويل بريهم: من المثير للاهتمام ان حضرتك أظهرت أن هذا موجود تاريخيًا. وكمان في الوقت الحالي، في الكتير من الأعمال الثرية اللي بيتم انتاجها. عشان كدا هل عندك أمل في أن الجامعات اللي بتنتج المعرفة المهيمنة واللي بتعتمد على العلم الغربي انها تتغير وتبدأ تدمج بعض من هذه النظريات الجنوبية، أو المعرفة المحلية، كل الأمثلة المتنوعة اللي حضرتك ذكرتها النهارده؟

راوين كونيل: الموقف مش ثابت، أحيانًا لما بتكون هناك مناقشات بخصوص واحدة من هذه القضايا، بحس أن المؤسسات العلمية المهيمنة ممكن تعمل دا وبالفعل بيبدأوا يهتموا. وأن المؤسسات المختلطة اللي بتجمع بين الشكل الجامعي مع المعرفة المحلية أو مع النظرية الجنوبية أوشكت على الوجود. فمثلًا تم تأسيس مجموعة من الجامعات المحلية في بوليفيا. وكتير من هذه الأنواع من العمل بيحصل في الإكوادور، وكمان في  أوتياروا في نيوزيلاندا.

من حين لآخر بيكون عندنا مناقشة أو مناظرة أو جلسة عامة بخصوص انهاء استعمار المعرفة أو عن توجهات ما بعد الاستعمار في العلوم الاجتماعية في مؤتمر رئيسي. في الواقع أنا رايح الشهر الجاي كمتكلم في لقاء رابطة بلدان الشمال الأوروبي لعلم الاجتماع في فنلندا على وجه التحديد بخصوص هذه القضايا. عشان كدا فيه اهتمام بهذه النوعية من القضايا. لكن على الجانب الآخر، الجامعات أصبحت في بعض النواحي تقليدية أكتر وأفاقها أضيق بسبب دمجها بشكل محكم في الاقتصاد العالمي الليبرالي الجديد، فأصبح التعليم الجامعي كسلعة. هذه الجامعات مثل الجامعة اللي بأعمل فيها بتعمل أكتر وأكتر كشركة لجني الأرباح وأصبحت مهووسة أكتر وأكتر بمكانها في قوائم الاتحادات العالمية. واللي بحسب حكمتها التقليدية هتحدد قدرتها على جذب الطلاب الأجانب اللي بيدفعوا رسوم أعلى، وبالطريقة دي هيكسبوا فلوس أكتر وأكتر. وعشان تظهر في مكانة كويسة في قوائم الاتحادات العالمية للجامعات، لازم تنشر لأشخاص بينشروا في المجلات الرئيسية المرموقة. وفين هذه المجلات الرئيسية المرموقة؟ في أمريكا الشمالية وبريطانيا وفرنسا.

هناك ضغط مؤسسي كبير على الباحثين في الدول مثل أستراليا علشان يركزوا منشوراتهم في منافذ الشمال العالمي، وهذا معناه بالتأكيد إنك لازم تنشر وفقًا لمواثيق المعرفة باستخدام النظريات المألوفة للمحررين والمراجعين لمجلات الشمال العالمي. ودا معناه بالتالي إن النظرية الجنوبية والمعرفة المحلية والشمولية البديلة، كل هذه الأشكال من المعرفة، ملهاش مكان.

هيتم استبعادها من السلع الليبرالية الجديدة للجامعات المتقدمة. عشان كدا هتلاقي نوع من الصراع المستمر. غالبًا هيكون صراع ضمني بين الدوافع الديموقراطية في التعليم وإنتاج المعرفة، وبين قوى النظام الهرمي والسلع والاتفاقيات.

في الواقع أنا بشوف أنه من الصعب جدًا التنبؤ باللي هيحصل. ربما هيكون هناك تقسيم متزايد، فمن جهة هيحصل نوع من تقلص النظام الهرمي الضيق لجامعات النخبة، وعلى الجانب الأخر هتكون هناك استجابات ديموقراطية، لكن نظام التعليم العالي هيكون أقل في موارده. هذا مستقبل محتمل.

 ويل بريهم: احنا بنشكر حضرتك جدًا على انضمامك لينا في برنامج فريش ايد.

راوين كونيل:أنا سعيد أني أكون معكم.

ويل بريهم: إلى اللقاء!!



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Will Brehm:  2:12
Raewyn Connell, bienvenue à Fresh Ed.

Raewyn Connell:  2:15
Je suis heureux d’être ici.

Will Brehm:  2:17
Dans un article récent pour l’Université de Johannesburg, vous avez partagé certaines de vos réflexions sur la décolonisation des connaissances. Pour que vous puissiez décoloniser le savoir, il faut d’abord qu’il soit colonisé. Alors comment voyez-vous la colonisation du savoir ?

Raewyn Connell:  2:40
Eh bien, cela a un nombre de dimensions.

C’est une question très sensible en Afrique du Sud en ce moment parce qu’il y a un mouvement Rhodes Must Fall à l’université du Cap, mais c’est aussi une question qui concerne le monde majoritaire, le monde postcolonial, depuis des générations, en fait. Et c’est un problème, maintenant, bien sûr, en raison de ce qui s’est passé au cours des quatre ou 500 dernières années, avec la création d’empires mondiaux, puis d’une économie mondiale dont le centre se trouve dans les pays riches du Nord. Et en parallèle à ces économies matérielles, si vous voulez, il y a une économie de la connaissance dans laquelle les informations, les concepts, les modes de pensée, les méthodologies, etc. circulent et s’échangent, et qui a été très fortement façonnée par la croissance des empires, et ensuite par l’inégalité comme c’est le cas de l’économie néolibérale. Et c’est à cela que nous faisons référence lorsque nous parlons de la colonisation de la connaissance ou de l’interconnexion, si vous voulez, entre le colonialisme et la mise en place de la connaissance. Nous avons donc maintenant dans le monde une économie de la connaissance de la formation dominante du savoir dans laquelle le monde colonisé a été très important historiquement, mais n’a pas contrôlé ce qui se passe.

Et dans la mesure où les travailleurs intellectuels de la périphérie mondiale ont pu prendre part aux dernières générations, ils ont dû fondamentalement le faire dans les termes qui sont fixés par les institutions de la connaissance du Grand Nord, reflétant leur point de vue sur le monde et leurs expériences historiques. Ainsi, lorsque nous parlons de la décolonisation du savoir, nous parlons des différentes façons dont cette histoire et cette structure massive d’inégalités actuelles sont abordées et contestées et lentement, à petits pas, graduellement modifiées.

Will Brehm:  5:10
Donc, vous dites que les économies de l’empire et du néolibéralisme façonnent ce savoir dominant qui colonise le savoir dans le monde entier.

Raewyn Connell:  5:23
Absolument. Et c’est un point tout à fait familier en fait, dans l’histoire des sciences. Ainsi, si vous lisez, vous connaissez, le Voyage du Beagle de Darwin, par exemple, l’un des documents scientifiques les plus célèbres jamais écrits où le jeune Charles Darwin a fait le tour du monde avec son navire de reconnaissance de la marine britannique et a recueilli des spécimens et fait des observations géologiques. Il a regardé les fameux pinsons des îles Galapagos, a observé les récifs coralliens, et de cette expérience, au cours d’une longue période de réflexion et de maturation, mais dans une mesure très importante, est née la biologie moderne, les théories modernes de l’évolution.

Et vous pouvez conter ce genre d’histoire ou vous pouvez voir des éléments de ce genre d’histoire dans l’histoire de nombreux autres domaines scientifiques, aussi. L’astronomie, par exemple, vous savez, la moitié des cieux, si vous voulez, sont visibles depuis l’hémisphère sud. Les connaissances de l’hémisphère sud ont été très importantes dans certains domaines de l’astronomie. Dans les sciences sociales aussi, et c’est en quelque sorte la première façon dont j’ai compris ce genre de questions parce que je suis sociologue. Quand on regarde l’histoire de la sociologie, on nous donne divers mythes sur la façon dont il s’agissait de la modernisation en Europe, de Weber, de Marx, etc. Mais en fait, si vous regardez les tout premiers jours de la sociologie, il s’agissait très majoritairement des connaissances du monde colonisé qui ont été intégrées dans un récit du progrès au 19e siècle et de ce que j’appelle l’image ou un modèle de la différence globale entre les primitifs et les avancés, mais qui est ensuite devenu le cadre de toute la sociologie moderne jusqu’à l’époque de la première guerre mondiale environ.

Ainsi, la rencontre entre les colonisateurs européens et les sociétés colonisées a été réellement formatrice pour l’histoire de ce que nous appelons à tort la science occidentale. En fait, elle a toujours été une science mondiale, même si au cours des deux derniers siècles, elle a été essentiellement centrée sur les États riches et puissants du Nord.

Will Brehm:  7:56
Et vous avez dit que souvent, les personnes qui créent des connaissances dans le Sud global ou dans les États postcoloniaux, ou même dans les États coloniaux, utilisent le même cadre et les mêmes concepts que ceux développés par les scientifiques occidentaux ou, vous savez ce qu’on appelle, entre guillemets, “les scientifiques occidentaux”. Pouvez-vous nous donner un exemple de ce qui se passe ?

Raewyn Connell:  8:22
Oh, eh bien, si vous souhaitez, vous savez, vous pouvez vous mettre dans n’importe quel pays de la périphérie et regarder autour de vous, et vous le verrez.

Tous les créateurs de connaissances ne font pas cela, mais c’est, si vous voulez, la formation officielle des connaissances dans le système universitaire. C’est ce qui est reconnu comme une science, c’est ce qui est financé par les agences gouvernementales de financement de la recherche, c’est ce que les Chinois ont mis en place en restructurant le système universitaire, vous savez. Je regarde autour de moi l’Université de Sydney, ici en Australie. Et, vous savez, dans toutes les directions, je vois des gens qui font de la recherche, qui développent des connaissances, dans le cadre de méthodes et de théories et de ce qui est observable et de la façon dont vous vous comportez en tant que scientifique, c’est-à-dire, vous savez, quelque chose comme 97% importé d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord. Et c’est tout à fait typique des institutions officielles du savoir dans le monde. C’est pourquoi je parle de la situation d’hégémonie mondiale dans la formation du savoir.

Donc, je veux dire à nouveau, si je peux mentionner ma propre discipline de sociologie, vous regardez la revue de sociologie locale, elle est intitulée Journal of Sociology et vous savez, l’article typique y est rédigé par un Australien ou quelqu’un de Nouvelle-Zélande de la région. Et il y aura des données d’Australie ou de Nouvelle-Zélande ou de la région que l’article typique dans le journal, mais le reste du cadre théorique dans lequel se fait sera Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, les maîtres modernes du Nord global ou, vous savez, Marx, Weber, Durkheim – ce sont les pères fondateurs officiels de la discipline.

Et les méthodes qu’ils appliqueront seront à nouveau, en général pas dans tous les cas, mais dans la plupart des cas, les méthodes seront celles qui ont été acquises auprès de personnes ayant étudié dans des universités américaines ou européennes, qui veulent faire des enquêtes ou des analyses qualitatives ou quoi que ce soit d’autre provenant d’institutions du Nord ou suivant des modèles du Nord considérés comme une véritable sociologie scientifique. Et si vous opérez d’une autre manière, vous êtes considéré comme, vous savez, pas un vrai, vous risquez d’être considéré comme un sociologue pas correct ou faisant quelque chose de bizarre ou d’étranger aux activités réelles de la discipline, Et cela n’est bien sûr pas propre à la sociologie ; c’est vrai dans toutes les disciplines, à l’exception peut-être d’une discipline d’études postcoloniales où cela existe, ce qui n’est pas très souvent le cas.

Et les petits bouts de l’université où des morceaux de savoir indigène commencent à s’insinuer mais qui sont très, très marginalisés et dans certaines parties du travail de l’université, par exemple la recherche biomédicale, vous ne les trouvez pas du tout.

Will Brehm:  11:56
Parlons de certaines connaissances indigènes ou de ces autres façons de mener des recherches en utilisant des méthodologies et des théories différentes de celles que l’on trouve dans le Grand Nord ou à l’Ouest, en particulier en Europe. Pouvez-vous donc décrire certaines de ces manières alternatives de théoriser ou d’utiliser des méthodes différentes de celles de Bourdieu ou de Durkheim ?

Raewyn Connell:  12:24
Oui, eh bien, la première chose que vous diriez est que l’idée même de concevoir ou de mener des recherches est, si vous voulez, ancrée actuellement dans la formation dominante du savoir. Ainsi, par exemple, les membres des communautés indigènes d’Australie, qui sont considérés comme des porteurs de connaissances, ne se considèrent généralement pas comme des chercheurs. Ils se considéreraient comme des porteurs de connaissances, de sagesse, de savoir-faire. Le savoir comprendra en fait une grande partie de connaissances empiriques, d’informations empiriques, de données sur leur pays, sur leurs relations sociales, sur leur peuple qui feront partie de leur savoir, mais il n’est pas organisé sous la forme d’une entreprise de recherche où vous publiez des résultats dans des revues évaluées par des pairs, etc. Nous devons donc toujours comprendre que les formations de connaissances sont des processus sociaux, des constructions sociales, qui avaient une base institutionnelle et que l’université moderne est, à quelques exceptions intéressantes près, mais c’est en grande partie vrai, organisée institutionnellement autour du système de connaissances orienté vers la recherche et dominé par le Nord. C’est pourquoi nous pensons à la “science occidentale”, entre guillemets.

Nous nous intéressons donc à différentes pratiques de connaissance, parfois à différentes bases institutionnelles, si nous pensons, par exemple, qu’il existe un autre type de formation de la connaissance, à savoir le savoir islamique, la science islamique. Nous nous intéressons à une histoire institutionnelle différente parce que, historiquement, les savants islamiques ont été organisés en différents types d’institutions selon le modèle de l’université européenne, bien qu’il y ait maintenant une tentative, bien sûr, ces cent dernières années environ, de synthétiser cela dans le monde islamique, et non dans le monde chrétien.

Et dans certains pluralismes institutionnels, dans ce genre de contexte, si vous observez les communautés indigènes, disons en Amérique du Sud, ou en Australie, ou dans les îles du Pacifique, vous observez des groupes qui n’ont pas historiquement eu de grandes institutions de la connaissance comme le modèle islamique ou européen. Et là, la base institutionnelle de la connaissance est susceptible d’être les cérémonies, les classements par âge, les cohortes, les communautés sous une forme différente.

Il sera donc assez difficile de sortir de ces contextes, une sorte de connaissance abstraite. Étiquettez-le comme connaissance indigène et, disons, d’accord, nous pouvons prendre cela comme cadre et commencer à publier dans des revues européennes ou nord-américaines grand public. Ce modèle ne semble pas fonctionner, ou du moins il est très difficile à faire fonctionner.

Il n’est pas totalement hors de question. Il y a des gens qui ont essayé de le faire, par exemple, en reprenant certaines théories du savant islamique Ibn Khaldoun du Maghreb et de l’Afrique du Nord-Ouest il y a quelques centaines d’années, comme une sorte de théoricien social classique et en essayant de faire une analyse des problèmes contemporains dans le genre de termes qu’il élaborait. Il existe des personnes qui font cela, mais elles ne sont pas très présentes, ni dans le monde de l’érudition islamique ni dans le courant dominant de la recherche.

Will Brehm:  16:48
Je pense qu’il est intéressant que, vous savez, nous essayons souvent de mettre en contraste la science occidentale avec cette citation – entre guillemets, les scientifiques indigènes, si c’est le même genre de, vous savez, corps, ce corps de connaissance qui peut être, vous savez, dans un sens, pris comme la connaissance occidentale, mais vraiment, vous dites qu’il y a toutes sortes de façons différentes dont la connaissance est formée, et les économies de la connaissance fonctionnent.

Raewyn Connell:  17:17
Et cela ne devrait pas nous inquiéter, car c’est également vrai dans le Grand Nord. Vous savez, il existe ce système de connaissances formel dans le système éducatif, organisé au niveau de l’élite dans les universités, les instituts de recherche, etc. Mais il existe aussi d’autres formations de la connaissance dans la société pour le Grand Nord. Il y a des formations de connaissances locales, des façons de penser, des façons de savoir, des façons de comprendre le monde naturel que vous trouvez, par exemple, dans les communautés rurales en Europe ou en Amérique du Nord qui ne correspondent pas de manière simple aux institutions de connaissances traditionnelles. Ce n’est donc pas du tout l’Occident par rapport au reste, bien qu’il y ait des relations de pouvoir, et il y a, quand je parle d’une économie de la connaissance, ce n’est pas exactement une métaphore, je veux dire, il y a en fait des flux et des échanges en cours. Et le schéma principal de cela, qui a été souligné en particulier par le philosophe ouest-africain que j’admire beaucoup et qui s’appelle Paulin Hountondji.

Le modèle dominant de l’économie mondiale est que la connaissance est à peu près la même que dans l’économie matérielle. C’est-à-dire que la majorité du monde sert de source de matières premières, tout comme dans l’économie matérielle, vous savez qu’il existe une production de minéraux, de pétrole, de produits agricoles, de cultures et ainsi de suite, qui est expédiée vers le Grand Nord pour y assurer le mode de vie.

Il existe donc un flux de données généralement assez brutes, parfois plus traitées. Et c’est une forme de contestation qui porte maintenant sur la mesure dans laquelle les producteurs de connaissances de la périphérie mondiale sont capables de contrôler le développement et le traitement des connaissances.

Par exemple, dans le domaine du sida : La recherche sur le sida est désormais dominée par les chercheurs biomédicaux, avec une forte présence des sciences sociales également. En effet, le modèle dominant de la recherche biomédicale du Nord, le SIDA, implique maintenant des essais multivariés très contrôlés et très importants de différentes formes de traitement médicamenteux de l’infection par le VIH. Et l’ancien modèle était que ce type de recherche était très coûteux. Les deux seules puissances de financement à cette échelle sont les gouvernements du Nord, comme le Center for Disease Control aux États-Unis, ou les entreprises pharmaceutiques également du Nord, et elles veulent donc, si vous payez pour cela, le contrôler. Mais ce recueil de données repose absolument sur certains travailleurs du savoir en Afrique australe, qui affirment de plus en plus que leur expertise et leur travail sont essentiels à ce lieu, ce processus. Ils devraient avoir beaucoup, plus de contrôle, de responsabilité et de reconnaissance dans ce domaine, ce qui leur a été accordé par le passé. Ils ont donc une sorte de contestation des inégalités de la production de connaissances qui se produisent dans cette région, si vous voulez, au cœur de la recherche biomédicale. Et ce n’est pas exactement une confrontation entre les connaissances indigènes et les partisans de la sagesse.

Cela s’inscrit dans le cadre général de la recherche biomédicale, mais c’est reconnaître la dimension mondiale de celle-ci, et les multiples acteurs et formes d’expertise sont impliqués dans la production de formes de connaissances courantes.

Will Brehm:  22:08
Il semble assez similaire à l’exemple que vous avez utilisé précédemment sur Albert Einstein et son travail dans les colonies portugaises.

Raewyn Connell:  22:17
Oui, eh bien, Albert lui-même n’y est pas allé. C’est une belle histoire, en fait.

Je me demande, nous ne considérons pas la physique nucléaire ou la théorie de la relativité, la cosmologie et tout le reste comme les choses les plus nordiques, les plus abstraites et les plus pures de la science.

Et en effet, Albert qui a développé la première version de la théorie de la relativité, lorsqu’il travaillait en Suisse, puis est allé en Allemagne, lorsqu’il travaillait sur la relativité générale, a publié ses célèbres articles sur la relativité générale au milieu de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Et étant donné que la science est un peu plus internationale que la politique nationale, c’est ce que lisent les scientifiques en Grande-Bretagne. Et quand l’Allemagne, vous savez, a été vaincue pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, a perdu toutes ses colonies, a tout perdu. Ce sont les scientifiques britanniques qui ont trouvé le moyen de tester la théorie d’Albert, qui prédisait la déviation de la lumière sur la gravité, ce qui était impossible dans la cosmologie newtonienne.

Mais Einstein ne s’est pas contenté de le prédire, il a aussi calculé à quel point cela serait probablement mathématiquement possible. Et ce sont les scientifiques britanniques qui se sont alors dit, aha, l’éclipse solaire à venir, que l’on peut observer depuis l’Atlantique Sud. Ils ont donc mis en place des observatoires, voulant une île contrôlée par les Portugais au large des côtes africaines, et l’autre de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique Sud, au Brésil, qui est la plus grande ancienne colonie portugaise, ont fait leurs observations, ont pris cette très célèbre photo du soleil en train de s’éclipser, et, voilà, l’étoile, les images des étoiles proches de la surface dont la lumière passait près de la surface du soleil a été déviée à peu près autant que la théorie d’Einstein l’avait prédit. C’est cette expérience qui a rendu Einstein célèbre dans le monde entier, et c’est la connaissance qui est venue du monde colonisé et postcolonial. Et sans ce lien, vous savez, la théorie de la relativité ne serait pas testée de cette manière.

C’est donc un exemple assez frappant, si vous voulez, de la dimension mondiale de ce que l’on appelle conventionnellement la sagesse et la science. Mais tant de domaines de la connaissance ont absolument dépendu des flux de données et, derrière eux, une certaine forme d’expertise, parfois pratique, parfois de travail de connaissance dans le Grand Sud.

Ce que nous envisageons réellement, c’est une économie internationale de la connaissance, où la richesse et l’autorité sont centrées dans le Grand Nord, où ces institutions du Grand Nord dépendent encore, dans une mesure assez frappante, des flux de données en provenance du reste du monde. Pensez à la science du climat, pensez à tous ces modèles climatiques, les choses ont été tellement au centre du débat politique sur le changement climatique au cours des 10 à 15 dernières années, vous savez, d’où pensez-vous que les données proviennent, une grande partie vient du Sud.

Will Brehm:  26:01
Voyez-vous donc des contradictions dans le flux de connaissances ?

Raewyn Connell:  26:06
Oui, écoutez, il y a toujours eu une contestation de ces processus. Il y a toujours eu un degré de dépendance du Nord. Il ne s’agit pas d’un simple scénario de domination du Nord, de subordination du Sud. Donc la science du Nord, si vous voulez, la science contrôlée par le Nord et opérant dans le Sud, a toujours dépendu des pratiques, des connaissances, des institutions, etc. du Grand Sud, donc il y a une sorte de dépendance. Il y a eu beaucoup d’appropriations, d’appropriations partielles et de changements de ce qu’on appelle la pensée occidentale, les concepts, les séries et les méthodes occidentales dans les pays qui étaient sous influence coloniale ou semi-coloniale. Vous savez, il existe toute une histoire de cela en Inde, il existe toute une histoire de cela en Chine, qui n’a pas été directement colonisée ou quasi-colonisée pendant 50 ou 60 ans, et où toute une paire de générations d’intellectuels, vous savez, s’occupent d’adapter les systèmes de connaissance européens à l’usage des Chinois, ce qui se fait toujours.

Et il a existé – et c’est un point sur lequel je centre ma discussion dans le livre “Southern Theory” – des travaux théoriques qui se poursuivent dans le monde colonisé et postcolonial. Ainsi, bien que la formation des connaissances traditionnelles soit divisée en deux, la théorie et la méthode étant élaborées dans le Nord , la collecte de données se fait à la périphérie du monde. En fait, cela revient à ignorer la production de concepts, de méthodologies et d’analyses par les intellectuels du monde colonisé. Et quand vous allez la chercher, ce que, bien sûr, la plupart des recherches conventionnelles en sciences sociales ne font pas, mais quand vous allez la chercher, il y a une littérature vraiment riche d’analyses sociales du monde colonisé et ensuite du monde postcolonial. Il existe donc une importante tradition d’analyse et de débat culturels en Inde, dans le monde arabe et, plus généralement, dans le monde islamique. Ces débats et analyses intellectuels fascinants, le raisonnement sociologique en Iran, par exemple, sont influencés par l’Islam chiite.

Et, vous savez, dans l’Afrique colonisée et postcoloniale, en Amérique latine, je veux dire que c’est une source riche de ces idées, théories et débats sur la société qui a été historiquement marginalisée des sciences sociales dominantes, mais qui sont là, et au tout début pour contester la situation actuelle.

Alors oui, écoutez, il existe toujours une controverse à ce sujet. Il y a probablement plus de contestation maintenant. Je pense qu’il y a certainement un mouvement en cours dans les sciences sociales au moment de la décolonisation, du genre de la perspective du Sud. Ce n’est pas encore devenu une forme de pensée dominante dans les sciences sociales. Mais elle est certainement très présente en ce moment.

Will Brehm:  30:17
Cela peut sembler une question stupide, mais où trouveriez-vous les idées dont vous parliez en termes de théorie du Sud, par exemple en Inde ou en Iran ? Par exemple, ces idées se trouvent-elles dans des revues de recherche nationales ? Ou apparaissent-elles dans d’autres endroits ?

Raewyn Connell:  30:40
Eh bien, comme je le dis à mes élèves, aucune question n’est stupide. Mais parfois, les réponses le sont.

Vous pouvez en trouver dans les revues académiques, mais pas beaucoup. Pourquoi ? Parce que les revues académiques sont caractéristiques, vous savez, des formes institutionnelles de la formation dominante du savoir et de la tendance à, vous savez, si vous regardez, encore une fois, parce que je suis un spécialiste des sciences sociales, je connais mieux ce domaine, si vous regardez la revue de sciences sociales publiée en Inde ou en Chine ou en Australie ou en Afrique du Sud, vous trouverez généralement cette structure que j’ai suggérée auparavant qui est la théorie du Nord, les données du Sud.

Mais vous pouvez aussi trouver des controverses à ce sujet, vous pouvez trouver des écrits, vous trouverez en fait des écrits sur des intellectuels locaux qui sont sortis de ce cadre. Quand j’ai cherché ce genre de matériel, j’ai cherché très, vous savez, très largement en effet. Je suis allé bien au-delà des sources universitaires conventionnelles.

J’ai fréquenté des librairies de seconde main. J’ai parcouru les bibliothèques. J’ai cherché des genres qui n’apparaîtraient pas, vous savez, normalement dans la bibliographie d’un article de revue de sciences sociales. Ainsi, par exemple, une analyse sociale vraiment très intéressante d’un type comme Ali Shariati en Iran se présente sous la forme d’un sermon.

Il existe une quantité considérable d’analyses sociales dans des livres qui pourraient être considérés comme politiquement controversés.

Permettez-moi de vous citer deux exemples de personnes très célèbres dans leur propre région, mais peu connues dans le Nord. L’un d’eux est Ambedkar, qui a été l’âme dirigeante de la rédaction de la constitution indienne après l’indépendance, un personnage très important. Il a publié une analyse du système de castes, qui était d’ailleurs très critique à l’égard de Gandhi, dont Ambedkar pensait qu’il ne voulait pas vraiment contester le système de castes et l’exclusion sociale de la caste inférieure. Et je pense que c’est un document très intéressant du point de vue de l’analyse sociale des études de stratification en fait. Allez sur un autre continent, l’Afrique australe, et revenons encore une fois à l’histoire – les écrits d’Ambedkar auxquels je pense ont été écrits dans les années 1930 – remontez jusqu’à l’époque de la Première Guerre mondiale, il existe un livre remarquable intitulé Native Life in South Africa écrit par Sol Plaatje et publié en 1916. Sol Plaatje était plus jeune, contemporain de Durkheim et de Weber. Ce livre n’est pas l’histoire d’une ferme africaine ou l’ethnographie d’une communauté indigène. Il s’agit en fait d’une analyse basée sur une recherche sur le terrain de l’impact des lois adoptées par le gouvernement de l’Union sud-africaine quelques années auparavant, appelées Natives Land Act, qui consistait essentiellement à s’approprier des terres indigènes pour les agriculteurs commerciaux blancs.

Ainsi, il s’agit d’un coup d’État massif qui force les familles noires de leurs terres ancestrales à créer une économie capitaliste agricole prospère en Afrique du Sud. Plaatje a été le secrétaire de l’organisation et est devenu plus tard le Congrès national africain, c’est-à-dire l’actuel gouvernement d’Afrique du Sud. Il a parcouru le pays à bicyclette, car il ne possédait pas de voiture, et a effectué un travail de terrain, recueillant les récits des familles qui ont été forcées de quitter leurs terres et les a consignés dans son livre, ainsi qu’un compte-rendu des processus politiques impliqués. Le livre a été publié en Angleterre pour tenter d’influencer le gouvernement britannique afin qu’il passe outre à cette législation, ce qui n’a manifestement pas été le cas.

C’est une magnifique analyse sociale et une recherche sociale. C’est vraiment, je pense, le classique de la sociologie mondiale. Vous n’en entendez jamais parler dans la sociologie dominante, dans l’histoire de la sociologie dominante, vous savez, parce qu’elle est écrite dans un genre différent dans une partie colonisée du monde par un Noir, dont personne dans le courant dominant n’a jamais entendu parler.

Ce ne sont là que deux exemples que je pourrais citer par centaines et il me semble que ce qui existe actuellement en tant que science sociale dominante est terriblement pauvre, parce qu’elle n’a pas accès à cette énorme richesse d’analyses, de théories, de concepts et de données qui existe dans le monde colonisé et postcolonial.

Will Brehm:  37:00
Et il est intéressant que vous ayez montré qu’elle existe historiquement. Et aussi dans le moment présent, il y a beaucoup de travail qui se fait. Alors, avez-vous l’espoir que les universités qui produisent le savoir dominant, c’est-à-dire, entre guillemets, la science occidentale ? Espérez-vous que ces institutions vont changer pour commencer à intégrer davantage cette théorie du Sud ou les connaissances indigènes, tous les différents exemples dont vous avez parlé aujourd’hui ?

Raewyn Connell:  37:36
Je dois dire que je souffle le chaud et le froid sur ce sujet. Parfois, vous savez, lorsqu’une discussion sur certaines de ces questions a lieu, je pense, oui, les institutions traditionnelles peuvent le faire et commencent à y prêter attention et, vous savez, des institutions hybrides qui combinent, disons, la forme universitaire avec le savoir indigène ou avec la théorie du Sud sont en train de voir le jour. Ainsi, par exemple, un groupe d’universités indigènes a récemment été fondé en Bolivie. Et je sais qu’il y a d’autres travaux de ce type en Équateur et qu’il y a des travaux similaires en Aotearoa/Nouvelle Zélande.

Ainsi, de temps à autre, nous organisons un panel, un débat ou une session plénière sur la décolonisation des connaissances, les perspectives postcoloniales en sciences sociales dans le cadre d’une conférence générale. En réalité, le mois prochain, je vais justement parler de ces questions lors de la réunion de l’Association sociologique nordique en Finlande. Elles suscitent donc de l’intérêt. D’un autre côté, les universités deviennent d’une certaine manière plus conventionnelles et plus étroites à mesure qu’elles s’intègrent plus étroitement dans l’économie mondiale néolibérale, comme le montre le fait que l’enseignement universitaire est plus marchand. Les universités, comme la mienne, fonctionnent de plus en plus comme une entreprise à but lucratif et sont de plus en plus obsédées par leur place dans les classements mondiaux.

Et qui, selon les idées reçues, déterminera leur capacité à attirer des étudiants étrangers payants et donc à obtenir beaucoup, beaucoup d’argent. Et pour bien figurer dans les classements mondiaux, il faut avoir publié, des gens qui publient dans les revues les plus prestigieuses. Où se trouvent les plus prestigieuses revues grand public ? En Amérique du Nord, en Grande-Bretagne et en France.

Les chercheurs de pays comme l’Australie sont donc soumis à une pression institutionnelle assez forte pour qu’ils concentrent leurs publications sur les revues du Nord, ce qui signifie bien sûr que vous devez publier dans le cadre des conventions de la connaissance en utilisant les théories et les méthodes qui sont familières aux rédacteurs et aux évaluateurs des revues du Nord, ce qui signifie que, vous savez, la théorie du Sud, les connaissances indigènes, les universalismes alternatifs, toutes ces formations de la connaissance – Autres formations de la connaissance – ne sont nulle part.

Au fur et à mesure des avancées de la marchandisation néolibérale de ces universités, elles seront écartées. Alors, regardez, il y a une lutte en cours. Il s’agit souvent d’une lutte implicite entre les impulsions démocratiques, ce que je considère comme tel, dans l’enseignement et la production de connaissances, et les forces de la hiérarchie, de la marchandisation et des conventions de l’autre côté.

Et en réalité, vous savez, j’ai beaucoup de mal à prédire ce qui va se passer. Il se peut qu’il y ait une scission croissante, une sorte de rétrécissement du corps obsédé par la hiérarchie étroite des universités élitistes d’une part, et des réponses plus démocratiques, mais un système d’enseignement supérieur moins bien doté en ressources d’autre part. C’est un avenir possible.

Will Brehm:  41:55
Eh bien, Raewyn Connell, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell:  41:59
Je suis heureux d’être ici.

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

After her interview, Will Brehm wanted to ask Raewyn an additional question. In this online exclusive, we re-print their email exchange in full below the fold.

On July 29, Will wrote:

Dear Raewyn,

I hope you are doing well. I finally finished editing your show, which will air on Monday. The rough cut is attached here for your listening pleasure. Let me know what you think. I’ll be sure to send you the links to the show once it’s up. I’ll also link to your website in the blog post that will accompany the show.
While listening to the show again, I thought of a question I wish I had asked you. I’ll ask it here, but please don’t feel the need to respond!
I was schooled in the USA from pre-K to masters degree. I then did my PhD at the University of Hong Kong. That school was built by British colonialists. My dissertation research looked at private tutoring in Cambodia. I went to that country, collected my empirical data and then flew back to Hong Kong (or Melbourne, where I also lived) to analyze and write up my findings, using some old guy’s social theory (Henri Lefebvre). In other words, I embody all that you talked about in terms of the dominate way knowledge is produced and flows. I’m stereotypical. So, what advice would you have for someone like me who completely understands the points you make but has a particular history that is hard to escape? How can I resist re-producing the mainstream knowledge?
Thanks again for talking. I had a wonderful time — and learned a lot!
Have a great weekend!
On July 30, Raewyn responded:

Thanks Will, I’ve had a listen, and you’ve made it sound very good!

Sorry I didn’t have some more colourful detail for you.  I think that when I’m lecturing on these topics, I rely a good deal on visuals for the concrete detail and the laughs.  So with audio, I need to find another way to do this.  Any advice you have will be welcome.

Thinking about your question, that was true for me too.  I was brought up in a completely Anglocentric school system, that didn’t even use the arrival of millions of postwar migrants to diversify. I did two university degrees in much the same way.  My PhD, for instance, combined Australian data (collected by me) with theory from an old white guy in Europe (Jean Piaget).

It’s taken me a long time to work some way out of that.  The best advice I can give, really, is to go looking.  I wrote the book “Southern Theory” to encourage people to do that, by telling the stories of some intellectuals and some of their ideas around the global South.

So, for instance, if you are concerned about commodification and neoliberalism, go looking for what intellectuals in India, Mexico, Brasil and Egypt have been saying about it.  Or if you are interested in the short story as a genre, go looking for African short story writers.  Or if you are thinking about environment, find out what Indian feminists or African fishers have been saying about it.

It will take a while, because the knowledge economy (especially databases on the Internet) is not set up for that.  You may need to ask for advice as well as search online – ask colleagues and other people in the region what you should read.  I found some wonderful texts just by haunting bookshops.

In time that will lead you, at a second level, to thinking about the broader, underlying issues that are preoccupying thinkers in the South, or in particular parts of the South.  These issues may be quite different from the issues you began with, and the Northern-origin frameworks you are familiar with.

A current example is the discourse about “trans”.  In the USA, very much influenced by post-structuralism and queer theory, writers about transgender issues have been talking for the last two decades about fluid identities, contesting binary norms, individual rights to self-expression, etc.  And because that’s what’s said in the USA, that’s what circulates globally.  But when I have talked to transsexual women and transgender people in global-South contexts, those are not the issues that mainly concern them.  What concerns them mostly is poverty, violence, housing, family conflict, hostile police – basically, issues of personal and social survival in the local gender order.  It’s a different story.

Best wishes, Raewyn

The Global Partnership for Education is a powerful multi-stakeholder organization in educational development. It funnels millions of dollars to develop education systems in dozens of low-income countries. Yet the board of directors of the organization strategically avoids some of the most important and controversial topics in education today.

My guest today, Francine Menashy, has researched the Global Partnership for Education and the ways in which its board of directors avoids the topic of low-fee private schools, which is a heavily debated idea in both education policy and research.

Francine Menashy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She researches aid to education and non-state sector engagement, including the policies of international organizations, companies, and philanthropies.

Her research discussed in today’s show was funded through a fellowship with the National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation.

Citation:Menashy, Francine, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 33, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/francinemenashy/

Transcript, translation, and resources:

Read more


Human capital theory connects education to the labor market. It posits that more education makes workers more productive, which increases earnings. A more educated and productive workforce subsequently increases the gross domestic product of a nation. This theory has been prevalent since the 1950s and continues to play a central role in minds of both policy makers and parents. You go to school because you will get a better job in the future. The government invests in education because it will have a return on investment in larger GDPs.

My guest today says human capital theory is dead.

Hugh Lauder is Professor of Education and Political Economy at the University of Bath. He specialises in the relationship of education to the economy and has for over 10 years worked on national skill strategies and more recently on the global skill strategies of multinational companies.

Citation: Lauder, Hugh, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 29, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/hughlauder/

Will Brehm  0:15
Hugh Lauder, welcome to FreshEd.

Hugh Lauder  0:24
Pleased to be here.

Will Brehm  1:08
Human capital theory is such a common place theory in many respects, because when people think about education, they think of it as for human capital development. What is human capital?

Hugh Lauder  1:54
Okay, so I need to take you back a little to the beginning of the theory. The theory was the first sophisticated account of the relationship between education and the economy, and it said that basically people who were better educated would be more productive. And in being more productive, they would then earn a higher income. So that brought education into the picture because what it required was for higher numbers of people to be educated in order they could become more productive so economies could grow, and their income would also accordingly grow. So that’s the basic idea behind it. And it’s an idea, of course, which has permeated through society. It first began really in Chicago in the 1950s at the university there in the Economics department. And then policymakers took it on board and policymakers thought, “Wow, we’ve got a win-win here. Because what’s happening is that if we increase the opportunities for education, so our economies will grow, so people will gain a greater income.” And at the same time, there’s a kind of connection with social justice. So that, for example, as long as people are prepared to work hard and are motivated in terms of education, then they will get their just rewards. And they’ll get their just rewards because employers will always choose the most talented; those that are likely to be most productive. So underlying what seems like an economic theory is actually also a theory of meritocracy. So that’s the economists, that’s the policymakers. And on top of that, of course, now we have parents and students who are going, “Okay, if I want a good job, then I’ve got to get a good education.” So that’s basically the idea behind human capital theory.

Will Brehm  4:01
And it’s led to some interesting notions in education like this rate of return. Can you talk a little bit about what this notion is?

Hugh Lauder  4:11
Yes, sure. So how do economists know, and policymakers know that this claim that education will lead to increased productivity, which will lead to increased income? Well, not how do they know it, but how do they make that assumption? They make that assumption by saying, “Let’s have a look at the rates of return for different kinds of education and skill in the economy.” And in the past – not now, but in the past – what they seem to have found is that the better educated you are, the greater your rate of return in terms of your income.

Will Brehm  4:52
So more schooling means higher income in the future.

Hugh Lauder  4:55
That was the idea, yes.

Will Brehm  4:58
So it’s like it’s predicting the future in many ways; that’s what they’re trying to do.

Hugh Lauder  5:02
For sure it is.  Yes, they really thought that they had a theory which would actually explain and predict the future. And in fact, it has been a theory which has been around, as I said earlier, since the 1950s. And so in terms of social science theories, it’s one of the longest living. But it’s now coming to an end.

Will Brehm  5:27
Before we go into those critiques about the end of human capital theory, can you talk a little bit about what sort of impact it had since the 1950s on education, on education policy, on education development?

Hugh Lauder  5:44
I think the impact has come about in a number of ways. First of all, one of the immediate forms of impact was in development. So the World Bank took on the notion of human capital theory and has argued consistently, since the 80s, that human capital embodied in educated workers would raise the income of countries and of individuals in developing countries. So that was one clear example of the consequence of that particular theory. But, at the same time, it’s also been the case that in developed countries, it’s been seen that if you can increase your higher education system, then you’ll also get a win-win. You get the win-win because people will earn more money as workers and countries will have higher levels of gross domestic product. So these have been the two major consequences of the theory. But it’s also had an extra twist. And that was the notion of the knowledge economy. And the knowledge economy, which sort of started to develop as an idea in the late 80s, also seem to reinforce the idea that we now needed more educated workers. And the more educated workers there would be, so they would become more productive. And this was known as skill bias theory because at the heart of this form of human capital theory was the idea that technology would drive the demand for higher educated workers. So the skill would be biased in favor of the technology and the demand for higher skills.

Will Brehm  7:34
And it would be education that would provide those skills to operate that technology that is driving the economy?

Hugh Lauder  7:44
Precisely that. Yes. Now in more recent times, economists have become a little more sophisticated in one sense and they’ve started to look at particular kinds of skill for which there’s a higher return. But at the same time they’ve been kind of “atomizing” education into particular kinds of skill. So employers have gone in the other direction, and very often look at potential employees holistically. They want to know about their all-around capability in character, rather than also the specific skills.

Will Brehm  8:21
The work that I’ve done in in Cambodia, I’m just amazed by the prevalence of the idea of human capital being the main purpose of education. It is always meant to build and develop human capital because it will increase incomes, and also increase GDPs of the nation. And the conversations that we have are always about this idea of projecting into the future: what sort of economy Cambodia is going to have in 2030, for instance, and what skills are needed? And it just seems like it’s a fool’s errand of trying to predict the skills that are needed in the economy in 2030 for a country like Cambodia that’s rapidly changing; for a global economy that’s rapidly changing.

Hugh Lauder  9:14
Yes, I think this is a very good point. Let me just step back for a moment and say that in developing countries, there are certain sorts of skill that are clearly required for their development. And these forms of skill are to do with the state and state workers. They’re to do with various forms of craft work, so electricians, builders of various sorts, carpenters, that kind of thing. You need those kinds of skill. But the idea that you can predict in 2030 what’s going to happen is more problematic. And it’s more problematic, because just at the time when these developing countries are emerging into the global economy, so many of the techniques which are adopted in the global economy will hit them hard. So, for example, computer algorithms – what Phil Brown, my coauthor, and I  have called “digital Taylorism” – that is moving up the skill chain very quickly, and robots. So, for example, if you look at China right now, there are less people in manufacturing in China now than there were in 2000. So in other words, many of the techniques which have been used in the knowledge economy – and actually it’s not the knowledge economy, its knowledge capitalism, because capitalism is always trying to reduce the cost of labor, including skilled labor – many of those techniques that have been developed in the developed countries are now being applied to developing countries. So that makes it kind of problematic as well.

Will Brehm  10:57
Let’s shift to your specific critiques of human capital theory. What do you find so problematic about the theory itself, maybe not the method that’s employed by the theory?

Hugh Lauder  11:11
Okay, let’s have a look at the theory itself. We start with education, and that’s meant to lead to greater productivity, which is then meant to lead to greater income for the individual and the GDP of the country. Well, when we look at that set of connections, we find that they are all problematic. They’re all problematic for this reason: That first of all, education. There’s now considerable split amongst economists as to what we mean by education. Is it something as I suggested earlier, which is a form of all-round development of an individual? Or is it about particular skills? And that debate has really not taken off yet, but it will. So the education itself in terms of human capital – ‘what is the capital’ is a problem. Then when you look at productivity, what we see overall is that there are more and more educated people in the world, more and more educated people in particular countries like the UK or USA, and yet productivity is either flatlining or is very uneven. So the link between education and productivity is now become wholly problematic. Then when you look at the relationship between productivity and income, it becomes even more problematic because what you see is that instead of workers getting rewarded for their productivity, since around 1978 to 1980 in the United States and the United Kingdom, what you see is that increasingly, the wealthy are creaming off the productivity of other workers. So there are problems with all these different accounts of the relationship between education, productivity and income.

Will Brehm  13:10
So this would be the Piketty’s argument of the rise of the 1%.

Hugh Lauder  13:16
The rise of the 1% certainly has been, in part, because they’ve creamed off the productivity of other workers, but we need to look more closely at the relationship between productivity and income than what Piketty was talking about. Because as far as I can see, and read him, he does assume that most of the rest of the income that people get is a reflection of their productivity. In other words, he becomes quite orthodox once he’s had to look at the 1% in terms of his account of wage determination, and I don’t think that’s right. You only have to look at feminist critiques of human capital theory – and I’m thinking in particular now of the work of Antonia Kupfer in Dresden – and you see that there are a whole range of jobs for which it’s very difficult to determine productivity. It’s not only super managers, as Piketty would say, but it’s care workers. How do we measure their productivity? Why is it that women who can be very skilled at care work get such low wages? There’s a whole range of different questions that can be asked about this relationship between productivity and income. And the idea that productivity simply determines income is taken as a truism in orthodox economics. But I don’t think we can take it as such anymore.

Will Brehm  14:48
So let’s turn to the way in which human capital theory has been studied empirically. What sort of critiques do you see in the way in which it’s been studied?

Hugh Lauder  14:59
Well the way it’s been studied empirically – I’ll give you a clear example since you raised the idea of 30 years as a future timeline for prediction. There’s work by two leading economists, Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann, and Hanushek and Woessmann have published a series of papers for the World Bank, the OECD, where they look at the quality of PISA data (this is international test data for different countries). And on that basis, they then predict that in the future if countries can raise their education standards and their educational achievement so this will increase GDP in 20 or 30 years by X amount. And that has become kind of a standard way of analyzing the returns to education in terms of human capital theory. But I don’t need to tell you this, you will know it and so will all your listeners, that that kind of assumption simply doesn’t take into account the real world. We know, for example – and this is often an example I use – that when you compare Korea in the 1950s and Ireland in the 1950s, what you see as two countries with large numbers of relatively unemployed graduates. Both countries then began to take off, but if you look at the path of Korea where much of the takeoff was state led, and is still highly state influenced, what you see is a totally different kind of success story to the story of Ireland, which of course collapsed in 2008. So different trajectories for countries based on different ways of developing them produce different results. So what Hanushek and Woessmann don’t really do is take into account strategy, institutions, all the things that actually make a difference to whether countries and individuals in them do well or not.

Will Brehm  17:16
One of the critiques you you put forward is that human capital theory or the scholars who are using human capital theory often employ methodological individualism. And we hear this quite a bit also in other education research, and I just would like to ask, what does that actually mean?

Hugh Lauder  17:37
Sure. Basically, the assumption of methodological individualism (which is an ugly term, I know), the basic assumption is that the only thing that exists in society are individuals, and therefore it is to the individuals that we look to explain educational outcomes, to explain income, to explain the key features of social life and economic life.

Will Brehm  18:06
And so it neglects things like history, and perhaps the privilege that one could get from his or her parents rather than just their individual unique ability to learn.

Hugh Lauder  18:22
Yes, absolutely, that’s correct. So it neglects history. It neglects the structures which govern our societies such as class, patriarchy, racism. They don’t enter the story at all. And at the same time it neglects institutions, specifically institutions of education, for example; institutions that steer an economy. All that is simply discounted in this kind of explanation, which focuses on individuals.

Will Brehm  18:58
So if we were to talk about alternatives to human capital theory, how would you describe the link between education, productivity and income?

Hugh Lauder  19:08
Okay, well, first of all, these are now very, very complex connections. They’re not at all simple in the way that the original theory assumed. So we need to think about this very, very differently indeed. Let me just come back to the issue of structures and institutions. When you look at, for example, skill bias theory, it says that we understand that in the 20th century, technology was skill biased – that actually what happened was that as technology developed, so the demand for skills increased. But when you look at the history, it can be read completely differently. And it can be read like this, it can be read: Well, actually, the basis of 20th century industry was Fordism, the idea that people could put a nut on a bolt on a production line and out would roll many cars, many televisions. All the consumer goods that we now take for granted. These people were not up-skilled, they were de-skilled, because originally the people that made the cars were craftspeople. So that’s where you have what they call “skill replacing”, where the technology replaces the skill, doesn’t enhance or demand an increased skill. So then you say, “Well, where did the skill bias, the skill enhancement and demand for it, come from?” And actually, it came from the large numbers of white-collar workers you needed to run a large corporation like it. So these are the people that did the marketing, these are the people that did the accounts, these are the people that did all the other finance work and the planning.

But in order to understand how those corporations grew, you also then have to go to a much wider political economy. You have to go to a political economy which talks about the structures of the labor market – and here we’re looking at trade unions as well as employers. And back in the 50s, for example, and the 60s, trade unions were very strong, and they could increase their wages so that their workers could then buy the cars that were rolling off these production lines. Now, you’ll see for a moment there that the story I’m telling is a very much more complicated story than the one that skill bias theorists assume. Now, they assume that because in the past, we have had skill bias theories, so we will in the future. But the political economy around skill and skill development has now changed dramatically, and we need to understand it in terms of globalization, not in terms of Keynesianism and the idea that you could get some kind of agreement between trade unions, employers and the state, because now trade unions are much weaker, for example. They’ve been weakened through neoliberalism.

So you need to tell a completely different story. And you tell a story now about globalization and the demand for skilled workers can occur anywhere; it doesn’t have to be in any particular country. Multinational companies can simply say, “Okay, these skilled workers we want, they’re cheaper in Shanghai than they are in London. We’ll shift the demand to Shanghai.”  So you can see that we’re living in a very, very different kind of world in which the sorts of prediction that human capital theorists made, or assumed they could make, simply no longer exist in that particular way. So we need a different kind of theory. But – and here’s the big but – the world we’re about to enter is going to be even more radically different from the one I’ve just described.

Will Brehm  23:16
How so?

Hugh Lauder  23:16
Well, robots.  People make a lot of robots. And I used to be very skeptical about this. But I’ve just been talking to very senior infocom officials in multinational companies, and they tell me they’re scared of the consequences. And if they’re telling me that, then I’m really beginning to sit up and look at the other studies which suggests that robots can take many of the jobs that skilled workers used to take. We are moving, I think, into an era in which jobs and income will become increasingly uncertain for many, including many graduates. And that requires us to rethink the entire relationship between education and the labor market, because the labor market is so radically changing.

Will Brehm  24:12
Right. It’s fragmented and global, and you see further changes in the future.

Hugh Lauder  24:17
Absolutely. And they’re going to cause policymakers huge problems, which I think they’re reluctant to really start thinking about and confronting.

Will Brehm  24:28
Before we we turn to, “What then of education?”, you use this term, “the global auction for jobs”. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Hugh Lauder  24:38
Yes. So this is a book that Phil Brown, and I wrote with David Ashton back in 2011, which has kind of taken off a bit, and it’s taken off because up until then, the assumption was that technology would always lead to an increase in demand for skilled workers, and particularly for graduate workers. The research we did was on the skill strategies of multinational companies. And they told us a very, very different story. And I’ll give you an example of that, and it goes like this: The first interview that we did was with a human resources, very senior executive for a German engineering company in Germany. So the interview was in Germany; multinational company, though. And I said to him, because I have still had the human capital thinking cap on, as it were. I said to him, “Do you have a shortage of engineers?” And he said, “No”. And I said, “Do you get them from Germany?” And he goes, “No”. So I said, “Do you get them from England?” And he goes, “No”. And I said, “Do you get them from America?” And he said, “No”. Now you can see how my mindset was. I was thinking, Germany, Britain, America, right?

Will Brehm  25:58
Right, the place where engineers you thought were being produced.

Hugh Lauder  26:01
Exactly. And I said, frustrated, “Okay, where do you get them from?”  He says, “We get them from China, we get them from India, we get them from Russia, especially if they’re computer engineers and mathematicians. And we get them from Bulgaria, because in the Soviet bloc, this was designated as the leading place for computer analysis and development.” And in that moment, our eyes opened to a whole new world that this guy in two sentences had given us. And that meant that we had to then get on airplanes, and go and interview executives of multinational companies from around the world to see what was going on. And two things were going on: First of all, because they are in such an intense competition, they’re always seeking to drive down costs, and brainpower they want to make as cheap as possible. So “cut price brainpower” we call it. Now you get that because you can get engineers, for example, in China and in India, for a fraction of the price you can get them in the West. So what you see then is the offshoring of jobs, or the movement of jobs, from particular countries like the United States and the United Kingdom to East Asia.

But at the same time, we picked up something else that was going on. And that was this notion of digital Taylorism, the idea that you can take skilled work that graduates used to do and you can break it down into discrete tasks, standardize it, routinize it and then put it into algorithms that you can ship across the world so that work can be done anywhere. So these are the two key features of the global auction. Now, there is one exception to this and that is at the same time as we’re producing all these graduates, highly skilled workers from around the world so then in comes a particular ideology which suggests that it’s only the very few of those graduates who are really talented. And so now on every bookshelf of every HR executive office that we went to, was this War for Talent book. And this is about how you recruit the most talented in competition with your other corporates. So this is the one exception: there are a few people who are now designated as talented. Now, there’s a major debate as to what’s really going on there and whether these people really are talented, or whether it’s just executives or corporations wanting to see a kind of great reflection of themselves in the younger new recruits coming into their company. Because, of course, these people designated as talented earn much more money than everyone else. So that’s the global auction in a nutshell. And that began to open up two debates related. The first was, “No, we don’t live in a knowledge economy. No, if you’re a graduate, you’re not going to enter a world where you’ll be highly rewarded necessarily, where you’ll have status, creativity and autonomy. Quite the opposite might happen, that you’ll be entering routinized work.” And alongside that, and following from that, is the idea that actually knowledge work itself is now being stratified. So that you’ll get an elite which is the talented, you might get another group beneath them that do their bidding, and then you’ll get these routinized workers. So that was why the book cause something of a stir, because we were arguing, for the first time I think, that the idea of the knowledge economy and of human capital and skill bias theory really didn’t work in the way that had been assumed.

Will Brehm  30:01
So what then of education? How do we make sense of education in this this world that you are painting for us here?

Hugh Lauder  30:09
Okay, this is, I think, a really important question. Because if you were to just think that we’re talking about today and tomorrow, then there could be a critique which comes in, especially from the right wing, which is: “Oh well, we’re just educating too many people to too high a level.”  And in itself, that is problematic, because what else are graduates going to do when in countries like the United States and Britain, we no longer have the forms of industrialization where people could do high skilled, high paid work that, for example, still obtains in parts of Germany. So that’s one problem, but there’s a much bigger problem on the horizon. And I kind of signaled it when I talked about the robots. Because if so many of the skilled jobs that we have are going to be done by robots, then what’s going to happen to graduates? What’s going to happen to those who are educated? And I think the answer to that is something like this: We are going to have to give people a basic wage, a universal basic wage. Because the insecurities in the labor market will be so great that many will simply not survive unless they get a universal basic wage. Now, that universal basic wage will enable people to do a number of different things. It will enable them to retrain, to re-skill, for which they will need learning accounts so that they can draw on an account to upscale where they see a need. It will enable them to innovate and to develop different ways of interacting with this world. And the universal basic income will expand the labor market from beyond the confines of a market to work which is seen as important and contributing to society. And of course, care workers would be a clear example of that. So, that’s the labor market part of it in a nutshell. Then what about education? Well, if we’re thinking about that world, and you reflect on that for a moment, the uncertainties of that world, then clearly we need people to be as best educated as we possibly can make them. We need people who are reflective, alert, resilient in order to be able to make the best of the opportunities they have. So education becomes more important in these terms than in the past.

Will Brehm  32:41
Well Hugh Lauder, thank you very much for joining FreshEd.

Hugh Lauder  32:44
It was a delight. I hope it was of some value to you.

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Private interests are increasingly becoming commonplace inside education. In today’s economic globalization, the attainment of knowledge is seen as the key difference between economies that succeed and economies that stagnate or fail. Perhaps more precisely, it is knowledge that determines if an individual — not a national economy—succeeds or fails. We call this the “knowledge economy” and it is one of the main reason why private interests have entered education systems. Private interests in education range from private schools and private textbook and examination companies to the emerging belief that education is an individual, positional good that can be purchased and to the financialization of education where companies buy and sell student debt. It also includes things such as evidence based policy and information technology

Our guest today, Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi sees herself as a second generation researcher of educational privatization. Whereas the first generation of scholars aimed at describing the phenomenon, she attempts to explain — or theorize — it. How can we explain the rise of a global education industry?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi is a Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. She is a co-editor of the newest World Yearbook of Education, which focuses on “The global education industry.” The volume was co-edited with Antoni Verger and Christopher Lubienski and is the focus of today’s show.

Citation: Steiner-Khamsi, Gita, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 25, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/gitasteinerkhamsi


Will Brehm:  1:50
Gita Steiner-Khamsi, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  1:53
Thanks for inviting me, look forward to this conversation.

Will Brehm:  1:57
You’ve recently co-edited the World Yearbook of Education 2016 focused on the global education industry. And you’ve edited this with Tony Verger and Chris Lubienski and Chris has actually been on the show earlier. Private interests are increasingly becoming commonplace inside education. You call this the global education industry. What do you mean by this? What is the global education industry?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  2:30
Maybe I should start out by saying a little bit about the book, about the two co-editors that are not present right here. We all come from different directions. Tony Verger who has worked extensively on the global education industry but also global education policy in an international context. He is like the first editor and he pulled that volume together and he brought on board Chris Lubienski, who has done incredible work, especially on choice and on domestic US education policy showing especially how Gates Foundation was supporting and has become like a backstage advisor and the policy actor in domestic reform. So both of them really come from solid previous analysis on the private sector. I come more from globalization studies, and my interest is more what impact private sector has on public education. So we all wonderfully complemented each other. And we’re very happy that we found an incredible strong group of scholars contributing to this edited volume. This is so much about you know the book. But let me come back to your question and say, what the definition is on the global education industry. I should use the definition that Tony used at the CIES conference. And the definition is processes, systems of rules, social forces, and social relations that are involved in the production of a broad range of education services on the for-profit basis within a global economy. There are basically three elements that stand out: one is it has to do with educational services. This can be anything from textbook development to consultancies to provision of schools, it has to be a for-profit basis. And I think, Will, we should talk about that more. Because nowadays, we have interesting combinations of PPPs that don’t look like they are for-profit, but they are.

Will Brehm:  4:49
And a PPP is a public-private partnership?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  4:52
That’s right. And the whole definition of for-profit basis, this has changed in this, you know, recently, so we will talk about it, I’m sure. And the last one under the condition of a global economy, which also means these are providers that provide across national boundaries. So these three things I stick with Tony’s definition. I like that definition. It involves education services, it has to be for-profit, and it has to be more than just in one country. That’s the definition of a global education industry.

Will Brehm:  5:25
Right. And so this industry is expanding or like, how big is this industry?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  5:32
I mean, the most, you know, a lot of colleagues also at the last conference of CIES there we are just amazed how it is expanding. And there are a lot of figures out there. And then the presentation that Tony Verger and I did. He is quoting the company GVA advisors. They are based in California and they are an education industry. And one could say that they have an interest to exaggerate the success of how big the industry is, but there are so many figures, convincingly arguing that it is a huge industry and getting bigger and bigger. For instance, GVA advisors, they say globally, in 2015, the industry consists of $4.9 trillion, but then by the year 2020, they project $6.3 trillion, I don’t even know how to pronounce that. It’s like so much. And in the US, similarly there’s the figure of about 6 billion in 1999 and 125 billion more than double 12 years later, in 2011. And the interesting part is, it used to be that the private sector was very much involved in post-secondary education and pre-K, like early childhood education. But interesting phenomenon is now that it’s moving into, in America, in the US, we would say, K to 12, or to say it differently, it’s moving into elementary and lower secondary education also. And this is really a new phenomenon.

Will Brehm:  7:29
And so, what sort of goods and services are being sold? So you know, when I think of for-profit universities or for-profit schools in the United States, the one that always comes to mind is the University of Phoenix. And I think they make, they’re in the news quite a bit for their low quality and sometimes shady practices. But in my mind, University of Phoenix, at least to one I understand they are based only in the US and not cross national, so would they not be part of the global education industry?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  8:09
University of Phoenix, nowadays, higher education is boundaryless, and ICT is one of the early private sector providers of the global education industry. Because with technology, it’s becoming clear that it’s boundaryless so distance education, I would say, by definition, is already part of the global education industry if it is for-profit. And what we find is provision of schooling, like private schools and here there are like two different types of schools that are really interesting. One is the traditional private schools for rich families, for elites. One could argue it starts in colonial times, the whole idea of boarding schools eventually, but then eventually just also day schools. This is something very old and it always existed side by side to public education.
Nowadays, this has also increased massively to organizations such as IB, International Baccalaureate, IB is collaborating with education industry, for instance, in Switzerland, the country I was raised. IB there just opened the GEM school, which is a private sector provider with the basis in Dubai, just opened a school in Switzerland, where they offer IB, the International Baccalaureate in their school. So what you have is the interest of governments but also the private sector to have international accreditation of secondary schools. So this is one direction because the idea is they would enter the higher education system more easily. That’s the promise that they’re making. And on the other hand, on the other end of the spectrum, you have the low fee private schools that is also increasing and the low fee private schools, the leader in that field, I would say, is PALF nowadays, Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, they invest into companies such as Bridge, Omega, I think up to 10 companies right now that offer low fee private schools in Pakistan, in South Asia, but also in different West African and East African countries. So this is the second one. The first one was ICT. The second is provision of schooling but also, Will, your own research topic private, you know, tutoring is huge. It’s huge all over the world. And I think you know what Mark Bray, what you do, what Iveta Silova has written on that topic. They’re like the classics in the field. Just even bringing to the attention that this has become a big part of education and has created a lot of problem, for the education sector is really important to acknowledge. But then you also have what Helen Gunter, she is one of the authors in the book calls “Consultocracy.” All the consultancy firms like Booz, McKinsey, Deloitte, all these consultancy firms that help governments develop an education sector strategy to education sector, you think that usually development agencies used to do, or academics or researchers, they do it in the name of the government. And very often they have this agreement that they are invisible, like they do it for the government in the name of the government. Because there’s this whole, you know, discourse that we have in development on ownership.

Then the whole what I would call everything that deals with school reform, from textbook publishing, to test development, to teacher training, to monitoring and evaluation. And I find that especially interesting, Pearson is very active there, but also Cambridge education and others. I find that interesting because it’s like a closed system. And for me, that epitomizes how businesses work, they have like a, almost like a service contract with education sector. And it’s enormously lucrative. And I tried in my own research, trying to understand like, testing companies are so successful, and why they are expanding in education and what it does to public education.

Will Brehm:13:02
So and it seems as if the, you could have a public school in name, and you can have a public school building and children saying they go to the public school X, Y, and Z. But in effect, all of the services being offered inside in that school are offered by for-profit companies.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  13:20
That’s right. And that’s a new, one could say the ground was laid, maybe 20 years ago, with the back to basic movement in the US and many countries where government said, we only offer what is necessary and everything else has to be on a fee basis. And in many countries, this led to a focus on, you know, language and literacy and the basic subject and anything that was music or arts or chess or sports was all outsourced or was after school program. And the idea of having a fee structure is something that comes from the business sector and the epitome of the fee structure you find in one of the chapters of the book is about the GEM School, which is, as I mentioned earlier, they have one school now in Switzerland, but they are basically they’re based in Dubai and the CEO of GEMS openly says that we are following the model of the airline. We offer economy class, business class, and first class depending on what parents have to offer. So if parents only subscribe for the basic education, they have different kinds of teachers, for instance, they don’t have native English speakers, they have Indians and Pakistanis as teachers, or they don’t have access to physical PE or sports facilities.

And the opposite is for first class education, they have access to native English speakers and have just the richer curriculum. So the idea that you have a fee structure existed in public schooling, but now it has taken on a level that is unbelievable. And it’s amazing to watch how this has developed. So what you have now in public schools, schools where the basic is offered, and for everything else, parents have to pay. And even in countries such as Switzerland, we have now one school that is a recorded gymnasium, they have the regular curriculum. But if students or parents wish to have an additional accreditation for International Baccalaureate, they have to pay or rather the school picks up the cost for that thing. And IB, even though I totally believe in what they do, it’s totally interesting their curriculum, it is like all other business products, it is a closed system, you cannot just buy a curriculum. And they of course, they speak the language of education, they always give educational reasons, like quality reasons, you have to buy everything, you have to train the teachers to teach it, you have to use the textbooks, you have to have all this kind of quality assurance. And they argue that it’s in the name of quality assurance, because it’s a trademark, and they don’t want to, you know, water down the product that they’re selling. But it is very expensive, you know, so this is what I mean with a closed system. Pearson functions the same way Cambridge education, IB, they have business model and they have fee structures, they have its, I would call it they have almost like a service contract, you cannot just buy one element, you have to buy the whole thing and you have a commitment over years. And it ends up being expensive, because it is a closed system that once you buy the test, you have to buy everything else that goes with it.

Will Brehm:  17:21
So it’s a slippery slope of additional services.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  17:25
It creates a dependency, you know, it does create a dependency and, you know, now seeing how business operates in education, one has to ask, I mean, why didn’t they enter it earlier? It’s so lucrative because we are in a knowledge society, we believe in lifelong learning, we have 12 years customers staying the same pipeline, it’s amazing. I mean, of course, it is lucrative. Education and health, I would say, are the most lucrative sectors because everyone is exposed to it.

Will Brehm:  17:59
So why did it take so long? Why did it take over?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  18:02
That’s a good that’s a really good question. I think something happened like I’m coming from systems theory, Niklas Luhmann’s system theory, something has changed in the public education sector that allowed the private sector coming. And we should be analyzing this. And one of the arguments that I made that this standards-based education reform that we have the outcomes orientation allowed together with international testing, PISA and PIRLS and what have you, specially PISA because PISA is not measuring national outcomes. But it is a global set of 21st century skills. This makes it very interesting for business to enter education sector, because you can develop the same kind of test not for one dist, not for one school, not for one district, not for one country but for many. Because PISA measures 21st century skills and not national curriculum and it opens up a market that is huge. It’s, I mean, beyond imagination, how big that market is, it just needs some local adaptation done once you believe that what students should learn is not the national curriculum but a socially agreed 21st century skills then you can be a global education industry by working transnationally so that standards based education reform and I published an article on that that was read a lot in the journal Globalisation, Societies and Education opened up the ground for businesses to enter this standards based education reform.

Will Brehm:  19:58
And then it just evolved from there and it’s now, it seems as if it’s pretty much out of hand now. Everything and anything can go.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  20:05
I mean others such as Stephen Ball or Susan Robertson and Tony Verger, they early on they analyzed and Jenny Ozga, I could you know name others. They say, which is true, the neo-liberal reform environment or Stephen Balls calls it endemic privatization was also a condition the fact that parents have a choice that governments are ready to pay vouchers and the fact that, you know, schools results are made public that there is monitoring that the state stops to be the only provider but it’s only a regulator. All these are reasons why together with standards based reform, why it became interesting, because PPP is not really a partnership, it means the public sector giving money to the private sector, it’s a one way street, even though we call it PPP. But this whole neo-liberal reform that you allow choice, you create competition and schools get per capita financing money from the government or vouchers, we could call it, this is all a condition for businesses to entering the public-school market, making it interesting to them.

Will Brehm:  21:36
So this brings up the impact of privatization or the global education industry on public sector on the government where it’s not necessarily a partnership where they are where public actors are working in conjunction with the private sector. Rather, it’s just simply a mechanism the public becomes mechanism through which the funding can be channeled to the private sector.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  22:03
Exactly, exactly. And what we have, I think, we are now at the really interesting stage in research on the private sector. And that’s where I become interested. The early research that we were just, people were just, and scholars who wrote about it, I would call them the first-generation private sector researchers such as my colleagues, Chris Lubienski and Tony Verger and Stephen Ball. They were like the, Susan Robertson, there were the first-generation analysts that basically just described the phenomenon and, you know, why did they enter, why did they become so successful? I consider myself a second-generation researcher in that field. I came along more from policy borrowing research, and I always try to understand the system logic. And in this case, I think we have to have a paradigm shift in education research. For the longest time, I don’t know if you know the book by James Scott. It’s called Seeing Like a State. I just love that title. And I love that ethnography, what he did with it. But you know, all the, a lot of critical studies in education research was all about governmentality, like using Foucauldian or Bourdieu to analyze how bureaucracy and government imposed or used education to basically create docile citizens. And right, this was like, for the longest time, that’s what critical studies and education meant and how it would reproduce the class system, and, but in a language of meritocracy, to make people feel bad, and make it so they take individual responsibility, if they do not succeed in life. It was, so a lot of research was about demystifying this whole meritocracy belief and show how stratification and education is interlinked. But I think what we should be doing now, with the entry, with the advance of the global education industry, we should start to not see like a state trying to understand how the state sees education and appropriate education as a means to reproduce inequality. But we should start and I like that term, that’s why I’m creating that term counting like a business we should count like a business and try to understand what is the logic, business logic that comes from the private sector now into the public sector. Because in system theory, we say, all the subsystems, the private sector, public sector, or education, and health and economy, these are all sub sectors, they interact. So if something happens in their interaction and what happens is that both sides take on systems thinking or beliefs or values that are important in the other sector. For instance, now the private sector, as I said, they speak the language of education now. They talk about quality assurance, they talk about, especially like when it comes in low fee private schools, they talk about how important it is to have access to education, they talk about the importance of the right to education, so they have all the language and the semantics that we have in education, the same happens now vice versa. And of course, you know other colleagues also here at Teachers’ College Jeff Henig talks about marketization in education, but what it really means from a system theory perspective is that the public sector takes on not only mechanisms like, you know, demand, supply-driven, competition-driven and, you know, choice that is endemic for the market and the private sector, but also beliefs and mechanisms and ways of seeing it, such as the fee structure, the fact that we have a fee structure now in public education is crazy. And it comes from the private sector. It is like registering for Dropbox, or for any service, anyone, everyone gets it for free the basic but for everything else we have to pay.

Will Brehm:  26:40
You can be a premium subscriber.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  26:43
Yes, exactly. And this is what we now have in public education. And this is something that is also, it makes it interesting for the business to come in. They say the public sector should just give the basics and for everything else, the private sector can be contracted. And the next step is to say that for students that cannot afford these extra services, the government should give scholarships or vouchers or what have you.

Will Brehm:  27:17
Right. So how else do we need to learn how to count like a business? Like what does that mean for educational researchers going forward?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  27:32
There’s something I think we can learn positively. And the way we should be asking why is the private sector interesting for governments, I work in developing countries. So let me talk about developing countries. In developing countries, we have the situation where the donors all pull in different directions. Right now, for instance, I’m working in a curriculum reform project in Kyrgyzstan, funded by the Asian Development Bank. It really is a problem before that in Mongolia, I worked in Central Asia. It really is a problem that, first of all, many, many reforms that are donor funded that are high costs, they are not replicable. And the reason is because USAID, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNICEF, it could be anyone even Soros Foundation who I love and work a lot with. They are all, they have all their accountability systems. And they want to have successful projects well implemented, they pay a lot of money to international consultants to come to have like showcase projects, which even though well intended, it makes them not replicable. So what we end up having all these donor funded projects, including in curriculum reform are never scaled up. They’re just very nice pilot projects that end the moment the project ends. Business works differently, business works differently day. And then the other thing I wanted to say. So first of all, they are not scalable, because they’re too expensive. The second feature of donor funded projects are that they are not coherent. Because, you know, in one country, you have the World Bank, revising the textbooks and other donor focusing on teacher training, and another one yet on student assessment. So you end up with, and all of them should be coherent, because students are supposed to be tested on what the teachers were prepared to teach, and what the textbook say, but they are not. And everyone knows that working in developing countries. So businesses are different. They have like a monopoly, and they have, you know, they go to the government, like in Mongolia, they say, Cambridge Education, if you want us to build those bilingual education schools in Mongolia, you have to buy the whole package, you can’t just buy the test, you have to buy our teacher training, you have to buy our textbooks, you have to have our everything.

And that accounts for the coherence of the reform. And it is a totally different approach. So I think what we could learn from developing, in developing context, is we should just stop doing these very expensive pilot projects that are not scaled up. And I think there is some lesson to be learned, actually, from how businesses operate in developing countries, this whole idea of having low cost reform, they have it for a different motivation, but I think some things we could be learning or having more coherent reform where all the elements of a reform are in sync with each other.

Will Brehm:  31:09
Yeah, I mean, as a government, that would be quite attractive, if you have development partners, having all sorts of incoherence, and then a company coming in and saying, just go with us, and we will have it coherent from teacher training to assessment. And, you know, you don’t have to worry.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  31:26
I like the question that Tony always asks. And, you know, we both do globalization studies, but I just say the way he posed that question, I just like it so much that I quote, I, you know, cite him. He always asks, Why, I say, why does Global Education Policy resonate? He says it even more straightforward. And he puts agency in the question and he says: Why do governments buy or buy into a reform? That’s a good question, because there is agency, you know, governments have a choice to hire businesses or not hire businesses. And I think we have to ask this question seriously, why do they buy into? I mean, one could say there’s a, you know, kickback and probably there is some kickback in some countries, they get some money, they make good deals with them, and maybe they have a profit. But, you know, beyond that cynical approach, I think there are some really attractive features of the global education industry that what, as I said, we have to have a paradigm shift and try to understand how do businesses see education and how do they sell it to education, trying to understand why it resonates with governments. This is the second-generation kind of question what I mean. The first one is to just describe and analyze the incredible boom of private sector involvement. The second one is to ask why is it happening? What is in the public sector? And how do they sell the product? Why does it resonate? Why do governments buy into it? And in order to do that we have to think like a business and one interesting if you don’t mind just adding that I add this for. One of the authors in the book and she’s right now visiting scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University, Eva Hartmann. She is a professor at the Copenhagen Business School. She looks at the transnational private actors who do credentialization, and this is big in the ICT business, but also vocational, post-secondary education. Nowadays, you know, similar like we have IB in secondary school, or we have in the university system, we have branch campuses and we have universities that works transnationally. It is interesting in a day of a global economy, that transnational certification has a greater value than national certification and she writes about that, about especially in the area of vocational technical education, that this is like a brand name to have transnational private certification. And the way they work you don’t even need the government, you just need a professional association. We always thought that the government is the sine qua nonin education, and either its government or inter-government, you know, trans, you know, intergovernmental organization, but the UN or the World Bank or OECD — but now we’re moving into private transnational accreditation. They just get together as a professional association and they’re private providers and they accredit degrees and this did make, they put money in the public relations, they make them known, they have a whole set of qualification and quality assurance criteria and they run with it and governments buy it and private customers also buy it and this is really new phenomenon and in the literature they talk about network governance and all this. This also at CIES there were a couple of really interesting presentations on the topic. This is also a new phenomenon that you can deal and provide education with no government involved especially at the post-secondary level, no government involved and people pay for it. You can have governments pay for it, but even in a time of knowledge society and lifelong learning, even the private customer would you know, go for it.

Will Brehm:  35:53
Well, Gita Steiner-Khamsi, thank you very much for joining FreshEd.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  35:55
Thank you so much. It was a pleasure talking to you, Will.

Will Brehm:  1:50
Gita Steiner-Khamsi, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  1:53
Merci de m’avoir invité, je me réjouis à la perspective de cette conversation.

Will Brehm:  1:57
Vous avez récemment co-édité le World Yearbook of Education 2016, qui porte sur l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation. Et vous l’avez édité avec Tony Verger et Chris Lubienski. Chris a d’ailleurs déjà participé à l’émission. Les intérêts privés sont de plus en plus courants dans le secteur de l’éducation. Vous appelez cela l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation. Qu’entendez-vous par là ? C’est quoi l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  2:30
Je devrais peut-être commencer par évoquer un peu le livre, les deux co-éditeurs qui ne sont pas présents ici. Nous venons tous de directions différentes. Tony Verger qui a beaucoup travaillé dans le domaine de l’industrie de l’éducation mondiale mais aussi sur la politique de l’éducation mondiale dans un contexte international. Il est comme le premier éditeur et il a rassemblé ce volume et il a fait appel à Chris Lubienski, qui a fait un travail remarquable, en particulier sur le choix et sur la politique d’éducation nationale des États-Unis, en montrant notamment comment la Fondation Gates soutenait et est devenue comme un conseiller en coulisses et l’acteur politique de la réforme nationale. Les deux sont donc vraiment issus d’une solide analyse antérieure sur le secteur privé. Je suis davantage issue d’études sur la mondialisation et je m’intéresse davantage à l’impact du secteur privé sur l’éducation publique. Nous nous sommes donc tous merveilleusement complétés. Et nous sommes très heureux d’avoir trouvé un groupe d’universitaires incroyablement compétents pour contribuer à ce volume édité. C’est tellement en rapport avec le livre. Mais laissez-moi revenir à votre question et vous dire quelle est la définition de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation. Je devrais utiliser la définition que Tony a utilisée lors de la conférence du CIES. Et la définition est celle des processus, des systèmes de règles, des forces sociales et des relations sociales qui interviennent dans la production d’une large gamme de services éducatifs à but lucratif au sein d’une économie mondiale. Trois éléments ressortent fondamentalement : le premier est qu’il s’agit de services éducatifs. Cela peut aller de l’élaboration de manuels scolaires à la fourniture d’écoles, en passant par les services de conseil, et doit être à but lucratif. Et je pense, Will, que nous devrions en parler davantage. Parce qu’aujourd’hui, nous avons des associations intéressantes de PPP qui n’ont pas l’air d’être à but lucratif, mais qui le sont.

Will Brehm:  4:49
Et un PPP est un partenariat public-privé ?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  4:52
C’est exact. Et toute la définition de la base du profit, cela a changé récemment, vous savez, donc nous en parlerons, j’en suis sûr. Et la dernière dans le contexte d’une économie mondiale, ce qui signifie aussi que ce sont des fournisseurs qui fournissent au-delà des frontières nationales. Donc ces trois choses, je m’en tiens à la définition de Tony. J’aime cette définition. Elle implique des services d’éducation, elle doit être à but lucratif et elle doit être plus que dans un seul pays. C’est la définition d’une industrie mondiale de l’éducation.

Will Brehm:  5:25
C’est vrai. Et donc, cette industrie est en expansion, ou bien quelle est sa taille ?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  5:32
Je veux dire, le plus, vous savez, beaucoup de collègues aussi lors de la dernière conférence du CIES là-bas nous sommes juste étonnés de voir comment il se développe. Et il y a beaucoup de chiffres. Et puis la présentation que Tony Verger et moi avons faite. Il cite la société GVA Advisors. Ils sont basés en Californie et ils sont une industrie de l’éducation. On pourrait dire qu’ils ont intérêt à exagérer le succès de l’industrie, mais il y a tellement de chiffres qui montrent de façon convaincante qu’il s’agit d’une industrie énorme qui ne cesse de croître. Par exemple, les conseillers de la GVA disent qu’au niveau mondial, en 2015, l’industrie représente 4,9 billions de dollars, mais qu’en 2020, ils prévoient 6,3 billions de dollars, je ne sais même pas comment prononcer cela. C’est beaucoup. Et aux États-Unis, le chiffre est similaire : environ 6 milliards en 1999 et 125 milliards de plus que le double 12 ans plus tard, en 2011. Et ce qui est intéressant, c’est qu’avant, le secteur privé était très impliqué dans l’enseignement post-secondaire et dans la pré-maternelle, comme l’éducation de la petite enfance. Mais le phénomène intéressant est que maintenant il se déplace vers, en Amérique, aux États-Unis, nous dirions, de la maternelle à la douzième année, ou pour le dire autrement, il se déplace vers l’enseignement élémentaire et le premier cycle du secondaire également. Et c’est vraiment un phénomène nouveau.

Will Brehm:  7:29
Et donc, quels types de biens et de services sont vendus ? Vous savez donc que lorsque je pense aux universités ou aux écoles à but lucratif aux États-Unis, celle qui me vient toujours à l’esprit est l’université de Phoenix. Et je pense qu’elles font, qu’elles font beaucoup parler d’elles pour leur faible qualité et leurs pratiques parfois louches. Mais dans mon esprit, l’université de Phoenix, du moins pour une d’entre elles, je crois qu’elle est basée uniquement aux États-Unis et qu’elle n’est pas transnationale, alors ne ferait-elle pas partie de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation ?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  8:09
L’Université de Phoenix, de nos jours, l’enseignement supérieur est sans frontières, et les TIC sont l’un des premiers fournisseurs du secteur privé de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation. Parce qu’avec la technologie, il devient clair qu’elle est sans limites, donc l’enseignement à distance, je dirais, par définition, fait déjà partie de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation si elle est à but lucratif. Et ce que nous trouvons, c’est l’offre de scolarisation, comme les écoles privées et ici il y a comme deux types d’écoles différentes qui sont vraiment intéressantes. L’un est l’école privée traditionnelle pour les familles riches, pour les élites. On pourrait dire que tout commence à l’époque coloniale, avec l’idée des internats, mais aussi des écoles de jour. C’est quelque chose de très ancien et qui a toujours existé parallèlement à l’enseignement public.
Aujourd’hui, cela s’est également étendu massivement à des organisations telles que l’IB, le baccalauréat international, l’IB collabore avec l’industrie de l’éducation, par exemple, en Suisse, le pays où j’ai été élevé. L’IB vient d’y ouvrir l’école GEM, qui est un fournisseur du secteur privé ayant son siège à Dubaï, et vient d’ouvrir une école en Suisse, où il propose l’IB, le baccalauréat international, dans son école. Vous avez donc l’intérêt des gouvernements mais aussi du secteur privé à obtenir l’accréditation internationale des écoles secondaires. Il s’agit donc d’une orientation, car l’idée est qu’ils accèdent plus facilement au système d’enseignement supérieur. C’est la promesse qu’ils font. Et d’un autre côté, à l’autre bout du spectre, vous avez les écoles privées à bas prix qui augmentent également et les écoles privées à bas prix, le leader dans ce domaine, je dirais, est le PALF aujourd’hui, le Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, ils investissent dans des entreprises telles que Bridge, Omega, je pense jusqu’à 10 entreprises en ce moment qui offrent des écoles privées à bas prix au Pakistan, en Asie du Sud, mais aussi dans différents pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest et de l’Est. C’est donc la deuxième. Le premier était les TIC. La seconde est la fourniture d’une éducation mais aussi, Will, votre propre sujet de recherche : le tutorat privé, vous savez, c’est énorme. C’est énorme partout dans le monde. Et je pense que vous savez ce que Mark Bray, ce que vous faites, ce qu’Iveta Silova a écrit sur ce sujet. C’est comme les classiques dans le domaine. Le simple fait d’attirer l’attention sur le fait que cela est devenu une grande partie de l’éducation et a créé beaucoup de problèmes, car le secteur de l’éducation est vraiment important à reconnaître. Mais vous avez aussi ce qu’Helen Gunter, l’un des auteurs du livre, appelle la “consultocratie”. Toutes les sociétés de conseil comme Booz, McKinsey, Deloitte, toutes ces sociétés de conseil qui aident les gouvernements à développer une stratégie du secteur de l’éducation pour le secteur de l’éducation, vous pensez qu’habituellement les agences de développement le faisaient, ou les universitaires ou les chercheurs, ils le font au nom du gouvernement. Et très souvent, ils ont cet accord qu’ils sont invisibles, comme ils le font pour le gouvernement au nom du gouvernement. Parce qu’il y a tout ce discours, vous savez, que nous avons dans le développement sur la propriété.
Ensuite, tout ce que j’appellerais tout ce qui concerne la réforme scolaire, de la publication de manuels, à l’élaboration de tests, à la formation des enseignants, au suivi et à l’évaluation. Et je trouve cela particulièrement intéressant, Pearson y est très actif, mais aussi l’éducation de Cambridge et d’autres. Je trouve cela intéressant parce que c’est comme un système fermé. Et pour moi, cela illustre bien la façon dont les entreprises fonctionnent, elles ont comme un, presque comme un contrat de service avec le secteur de l’éducation. Et c’est extrêmement lucratif. Et j’ai essayé dans mes propres recherches, en essayant de comprendre, par exemple, que les entreprises de test ont un tel succès, et pourquoi elles se développent dans l’éducation et ce que cela fait à l’éducation publique.

Will Brehm: 13:02
Donc, et il semble que le, vous pourriez avoir une école publique de nom, et vous pouvez avoir un bâtiment d’école publique et des enfants disant qu’ils vont à l’école publique X, Y, et Z. Mais en fait, tous les services offerts à l’intérieur de cette école sont offerts par des entreprises à but lucratif.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  13:20
C’est exact. Et c’est une nouveauté, on pourrait dire que les bases ont été jetées, il y a peut-être 20 ans, avec le retour à un mouvement de base aux États-Unis et dans de nombreux pays où le gouvernement a dit, nous n’offrons que ce qui est nécessaire et tout le reste doit être payant. Et dans de nombreux pays, cela a conduit à mettre l’accent sur, vous savez, la langue et l’alphabétisation et sur le sujet de base et tout ce qui est musique ou arts ou échecs ou sports était entièrement externalisé ou faisait l’objet d’un programme extrascolaire. L’idée d’avoir une structure tarifaire vient du secteur des affaires et l’un des chapitres du livre est consacré à l’école GEM, qui, comme je l’ai déjà mentionné, a une école en Suisse, mais elle est basée à Dubaï et le PDG de GEMS dit ouvertement que nous suivons le modèle de la compagnie aérienne. Nous offrons la classe économique, la classe affaires et la première classe en fonction de ce que les parents ont à offrir. Ainsi, si les parents ne s’abonnent qu’à l’éducation de base, ils ont différents types d’enseignants, par exemple, ils n’ont pas d’anglophones de langue maternelle, ils ont des Indiens et des Pakistanais comme enseignants, ou ils n’ont pas accès à l’éducation physique ou aux installations sportives.

Et le contraire est vrai pour l’éducation de première classe, ils ont accès à des anglophones de langue maternelle et ont juste le programme d’études le plus riche. L’idée d’avoir une structure tarifaire existait donc dans l’enseignement public, mais elle a maintenant atteint un niveau incroyable. Et c’est incroyable de voir comment cela a évolué. Ce que vous avez maintenant dans les écoles publiques, les écoles où l’enseignement de base est offert, et pour tout le reste, les parents doivent payer. Et même dans des pays comme la Suisse, nous avons maintenant une école qui est un gymnase enregistré, ils ont le programme régulier. Mais si les élèves ou les parents souhaitent obtenir une accréditation supplémentaire pour le baccalauréat international, ils doivent payer ou plutôt l’école prend en charge les frais de cette démarche. Et l’IB, même si je crois totalement en ce qu’ils font, est un programme d’études très intéressant, comme tous les autres produits commerciaux, c’est un système fermé, vous ne pouvez pas simplement acheter un programme d’études. Et bien sûr, ils parlent la langue de l’éducation, ils donnent toujours des raisons pédagogiques, comme des raisons de qualité, vous devez tout acheter, vous devez former les enseignants pour l’enseigner, vous devez utiliser les manuels, vous devez avoir tout ce genre d’assurance qualité. Et ils soutiennent que c’est au nom de l’assurance qualité, parce que c’est une marque déposée, et ils ne veulent pas, vous savez, diluer le produit qu’ils vendent. Mais c’est très cher, vous savez, alors c’est ce que je veux dire avec un système fermé. Pearson fonctionne de la même manière que l’éducation de Cambridge, l’IB, ils ont un modèle commercial et des structures de frais, ils ont son, je dirais qu’ils ont presque comme un contrat de service, vous ne pouvez pas simplement acheter un élément, vous devez acheter le tout et vous avez un engagement sur des années. Et cela finit par coûter cher, parce que c’est un système fermé qui, une fois que vous achetez le test, vous devez acheter tout le reste qui va avec.

Will Brehm:  17:21
Il s’agit donc d’une pente glissante de services supplémentaires.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  17:25
Cela crée une dépendance, vous savez, cela crée une dépendance et, vous savez, maintenant que l’on voit comment les entreprises fonctionnent dans l’éducation, on doit se demander, je veux dire, pourquoi elles n’y sont pas entrées plus tôt. C’est tellement lucratif parce que nous sommes dans une société de la connaissance, nous croyons en l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie, nous avons des clients qui restent dans le même pipeline pendant 12 ans, c’est incroyable. Je veux dire, bien sûr, c’est lucratif. L’éducation et la santé, je dirais, sont les secteurs les plus lucratifs parce que tout le monde y est exposé.

Will Brehm:  17:59
Alors pourquoi cela a-t-il pris autant de temps ? Pourquoi a-t-elle pris le relais ?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  18:02
C’est une bonne question, c’est vraiment une bonne question. Je pense que quelque chose s’est passé comme si je venais de la théorie des systèmes, la théorie des systèmes de Niklas Luhmann, quelque chose a changé dans le secteur de l’éducation publique qui a permis au secteur privé de venir. Et nous devrions analyser cela. Et l’un des arguments que j’ai fait valoir est que cette réforme de l’éducation basée sur les normes, nous avons l’orientation vers les résultats autorisée avec les tests internationaux, PISA et PIRLS et tout ce que vous avez, en particulier PISA parce que PISA ne mesure pas les résultats nationaux. Mais il s’agit d’un ensemble mondial de compétences du XXIe siècle. Il est donc très intéressant pour les entreprises d’entrer dans le secteur de l’éducation, car vous pouvez mettre au point le même type de test non pas pour une seule distance, non pas pour une seule école, non pas pour un seul district, non pas pour un seul pays, mais pour plusieurs. Parce que le PISA mesure les compétences du XXIe siècle et non le programme national, et qu’il ouvre un marché énorme. Je veux dire par là que l’ampleur de ce marché dépasse l’imagination, il nécessite simplement une certaine adaptation locale. Une fois que vous pensez que ce que les élèves doivent apprendre n’est pas le programme national mais des compétences du XXIe siècle socialement acceptées, vous pouvez devenir une industrie mondiale de l’éducation en travaillant au niveau transnational, de sorte que la réforme de l’éducation fondée sur des normes et j’ai publié un article à ce sujet, qui a été beaucoup lu dans la revue Globalisation, Societies and Education, a ouvert la voie aux entreprises pour qu’elles s’engagent dans cette réforme de l’éducation fondée sur des normes.

Will Brehm:  19:58
Et puis ça a évolué à partir de là et c’est maintenant, il semble que ce soit un peu incontrôlable. Tout et n’importe quoi peut disparaître.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  20:05
Je veux dire d’autres comme Stephen Ball ou Susan Robertson et Tony Verger, qu’ils ont analysés très tôt et Jenny Ozga, je pourrais vous en citer d’autres. Ils disent, ce qui est vrai, que l’environnement de réforme néo-libéral ou Stephen Balls appelle cela une privatisation endémique était aussi une condition ; le fait que les parents aient le choix ; que les gouvernements soient prêts à payer des bons d’études ; et le fait que, vous savez, les résultats des écoles soient rendus publics ; qu’il y ait un contrôle ; que l’État cesse d’être le seul fournisseur mais qu’il ne soit qu’un régulateur. Ce sont toutes ces raisons qui, avec la réforme fondée sur les normes, ont rendu la chose intéressante, parce que le PPP n’est pas vraiment un partenariat, cela signifie que le secteur public donne de l’argent au secteur privé, c’est une voie à sens unique, même si nous l’appelons PPP. Mais toute cette réforme néo-libérale qui permet le choix, crée de la concurrence et permet aux écoles de recevoir de l’argent du gouvernement pour le financement par habitant ou des bons, nous pourrions l’appeler ainsi, tout cela est une condition pour que les entreprises entrent sur le marché des écoles publiques, ce qui le rend intéressant pour elles.

Will Brehm:  21:36
Cela fait donc apparaître l’impact de la privatisation ou de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation sur le secteur public, où il ne s’agit pas nécessairement d’un partenariat, mais où les acteurs publics travaillent en collaboration avec le secteur privé. Il s’agit plutôt d’un simple mécanisme par lequel le public devient un mécanisme par lequel le financement peut être canalisé vers le secteur privé.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  22:03
Exactement, exactement. Et ce que nous avons, je pense, nous en sommes maintenant au stade vraiment intéressant de la recherche sur le secteur privé. Et c’est là que je commence à m’intéresser. Les premières recherches que nous avons menées, les gens étaient justes, et les universitaires qui ont écrit à ce sujet, je les appellerais les chercheurs de première génération du secteur privé comme mes collègues, Chris Lubienski et Tony Verger et Stephen Ball. Ils étaient comme les, Susan Robertson, il y avait les analystes de la première génération qui ne faisaient que décrire le phénomène et, vous savez, pourquoi sont-ils entrés, pourquoi ont-ils eu autant de succès ? Je me considère comme un chercheur de deuxième génération dans ce domaine. Je suis davantage issue de la recherche sur les emprunts politiques et j’essaie toujours de comprendre la logique du système. Et dans ce cas, je pense qu’il faut un changement de paradigme dans la recherche en éducation. Depuis longtemps, je ne sais pas si vous connaissez le livre de James Scott. Il s’intitule Seeing Like a State. J’adore ce titre. Et j’aime cette ethnographie, ce qu’il en a fait. Mais vous savez, toutes les, beaucoup d’études critiques dans la recherche sur l’éducation portaient sur la gouvernementalité, comme l’utilisation de Foucauldiens ou de Bourdieu pour analyser comment la bureaucratie et le gouvernement ont imposé ou utilisé l’éducation pour créer fondamentalement des citoyens dociles. Et c’est vrai, c’était comme si, pendant très longtemps, c’était ce que les études critiques et l’éducation signifiaient et comment elles reproduisaient le système de classes, et, mais dans un langage de méritocratie, pour faire en sorte que les gens se sentent mal, et qu’ils prennent des responsabilités individuelles, s’ils ne réussissent pas dans la vie. C’était le cas, donc beaucoup de recherches visaient à démystifier toute cette croyance en la méritocratie et à montrer comment la stratification et l’éducation sont liées. Mais je pense que ce que nous devrions faire maintenant, avec l’entrée, avec l’avancée de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation, nous devrions commencer à ne pas voir comme un État qui essaie de comprendre comment l’État voit l’éducation et l’éducation appropriée comme un moyen de reproduire l’inégalité. Mais nous devrions commencer et j’aime ce terme, c’est pourquoi je crée ce terme en comptant comme une entreprise ; nous devrions compter comme une entreprise et essayer de comprendre quelle est la logique, la logique commerciale qui vient du secteur privé maintenant dans le secteur public. Parce que dans la théorie des systèmes, nous disons que tous les sous-systèmes, le secteur privé, le secteur public, ou l’éducation, la santé et l’économie, sont tous des sous-secteurs, ils interagissent. Donc, si quelque chose se passe dans leur interaction et que ce qui se passe, c’est que les deux parties adoptent une pensée systémique ou des croyances ou des valeurs qui sont importantes dans l’autre secteur. Par exemple, le secteur privé, comme je l’ai dit, parle désormais le langage de l’éducation. Ils parlent de l’assurance qualité, ils parlent, en particulier lorsqu’il s’agit d’écoles privées à bas prix, ils parlent de l’importance de l’accès à l’éducation, ils parlent de l’importance du droit à l’éducation, donc ils ont tout le langage et la sémantique que nous avons dans l’éducation, la même chose se passe maintenant à l’inverse. Et bien sûr, vous savez que d’autres collègues ici à l’École normale Jeff Henig parle de la commercialisation dans l’éducation, mais ce que cela signifie vraiment du point de vue de la théorie des systèmes, c’est que le secteur public assume non seulement des mécanismes comme, vous savez, la demande, l’offre, la concurrence et, vous savez, le choix qui est endémique pour le marché et le secteur privé, mais aussi les croyances et les mécanismes et les façons de voir les choses, comme la structure des frais, le fait que nous ayons maintenant une structure de frais dans l’enseignement public est fou. Et cela vient du secteur privé. C’est comme s’inscrire à un Dropbox, ou à n’importe quel service, n’importe qui, tout le monde l’obtient gratuitement – le minimum, mais pour tout le reste, nous devons payer.

Will Brehm:  26:40
Vous pouvez être un abonné premium.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  26:43
Oui, exactement. Et c’est ce que nous avons maintenant dans l’éducation publique. Et c’est aussi ce qui rend l’entreprise intéressante. On dit que le secteur public doit se contenter de donner les bases et que pour tout le reste, on peut faire appel au secteur privé. Et l’étape suivante est de dire que pour les étudiants qui ne peuvent pas se permettre ces services supplémentaires, le gouvernement devrait donner des bourses ou des bons ou ce que vous avez.

Will Brehm:  27:17
C’est vrai. Alors comment apprendre à compter comme une entreprise ? Par exemple, qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour les chercheurs en éducation à l’avenir ?

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  27:32
Je pense que nous pouvons apprendre quelque chose de positif. Et comme nous devrions nous demander pourquoi le secteur privé est intéressant pour les gouvernements, je travaille dans les pays en développement. Laissez-moi donc vous parler des pays en développement. Dans les pays en développement, nous avons une situation où les donateurs tirent tous dans des directions différentes. En ce moment, par exemple, je travaille sur un projet de réforme des programmes scolaires au Kirghizstan, financé par la Banque asiatique de développement. C’est vraiment un problème avant qu’en Mongolie, j’aie travaillé en Asie centrale. C’est vraiment un problème que, tout d’abord, beaucoup, beaucoup de réformes qui sont financées par des donateurs sont des coûts élevés, elles ne sont pas reproductibles. Et la raison en est que l’USAID, la Banque mondiale, la Banque asiatique de développement, l’UNICEF, tout le monde, même la Fondation Soros que j’aime et avec qui je travaille beaucoup. Ils sont tous, ils ont tous leurs systèmes de responsabilité. Et ils veulent que les projets réussis soient bien mis en œuvre, ils paient beaucoup d’argent à des consultants internationaux pour qu’ils viennent mettre en place des projets de démonstration, ce qui, bien que bien intentionné, les rend impossibles à reproduire. Ainsi, tous ces projets financés par des donateurs, y compris dans le domaine de la réforme des programmes scolaires, ne sont jamais reproduits à grande échelle. Ce ne sont que de très beaux projets pilotes qui se terminent au moment où le projet prend fin. Les affaires fonctionnent différemment, les affaires fonctionnent différemment au quotidien. Et puis l’autre chose que je voulais dire. Tout d’abord, ils ne sont pas extensibles, parce qu’ils sont trop chers. La deuxième caractéristique des projets financés par des donateurs est qu’ils ne sont pas cohérents. Parce que, vous savez, dans un pays, vous avez la Banque mondiale, qui révise les manuels scolaires et un autre donateur qui se concentre sur la formation des enseignants, et un autre encore sur l’évaluation des étudiants. Vous vous retrouvez donc avec, et tous devraient être cohérents, parce que les étudiants sont censés être testés sur ce que les enseignants étaient prêts à enseigner, et sur ce que dit le manuel, mais ils ne le sont pas. Et tout le monde sait que travailler dans les pays en développement. Les entreprises sont donc différentes. Elles ont comme un monopole, et elles vont au gouvernement, comme en Mongolie, elles disent, Cambridge Education, si vous voulez que nous construisions ces écoles d’éducation bilingue en Mongolie, vous devez acheter tout le paquet, vous ne pouvez pas simplement acheter le test, vous devez acheter notre formation de professeur, vous devez acheter nos manuels, vous devez avoir tout.
Et c’est ce qui explique la cohérence de la réforme. Et c’est une approche totalement différente. Je pense donc que ce que nous pourrions apprendre du développement, dans un contexte de développement, c’est que nous devrions simplement arrêter de faire ces projets pilotes très coûteux qui ne sont pas mis à l’échelle. Et je pense qu’il y a une leçon à tirer, en fait, de la façon dont les entreprises fonctionnent dans les pays en développement, toute cette idée d’avoir une réforme à faible coût, elles l’ont pour une motivation différente, mais je pense que nous pourrions apprendre certaines choses ou avoir une réforme plus cohérente où tous les éléments d’une réforme sont en harmonie les uns avec les autres.

Will Brehm:  31:09
Oui, je veux dire, en tant que gouvernement, ce serait très intéressant, si vous avez des partenaires de développement, ayant toutes sortes d’incohérences, et puis une entreprise qui vient et dit, juste allez avec nous, et nous aurons une cohérence de la formation des enseignants à l’évaluation. Et, vous savez, vous n’avez pas à vous inquiéter.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  31:26
J’aime la question que Tony pose toujours. Et, vous savez, nous faisons tous les deux des études sur la mondialisation, mais je dis juste que la façon dont il a posé cette question, je l’aime tellement que je le cite, vous savez, je le cite. Il demande toujours : “Pourquoi, dis-je, pourquoi la politique mondiale de l’éducation a-t-elle une résonance ? Il le dit de façon encore plus directe. Et il met l’agence dans la question et il dit : Pourquoi les gouvernements achètent-ils ou souscrivent-ils à une réforme ? C’est une bonne question, parce qu’il y a une agence, vous savez, les gouvernements ont le choix d’engager ou non des entreprises. Et je pense que nous devons nous poser sérieusement la question suivante : pourquoi s’engagent-ils dans une réforme ? Je veux dire, on pourrait dire qu’il y a, vous savez, des ristournes et probablement des ristournes dans certains pays, ils reçoivent de l’argent, ils font de bonnes affaires avec eux, et peut-être qu’ils font des bénéfices. Mais, vous savez, au-delà de cette approche cynique, je pense qu’il y a des caractéristiques vraiment attrayantes de l’industrie mondiale de l’éducation qui font que, comme je l’ai dit, nous devons avoir un changement de paradigme et essayer de comprendre comment les entreprises voient l’éducation et comment elles la vendent à l’éducation, en essayant de comprendre pourquoi elle trouve un écho auprès des gouvernements. C’est le genre de question de deuxième génération que je veux dire. La première consiste simplement à décrire et à analyser l’incroyable essor de la participation du secteur privé. La deuxième consiste à se demander pourquoi cela se produit. Qu’y a-t-il dans le secteur public ? Et comment vendent-ils le produit ? Pourquoi cela résonne-t-il ? Pourquoi les gouvernements y adhèrent-ils ? Et pour ce faire, nous devons penser comme une entreprise et une entreprise intéressante, si vous voulez bien ajouter que j’ajoute ceci pour. L’un des auteurs du livre, Eva Hartmann, est actuellement professeur invité au Teachers College de l’Université de Columbia. Elle est professeur à l’école de commerce de Copenhague. Elle s’intéresse aux acteurs privés transnationaux qui s’occupent de la délivrance de diplômes, et c’est important dans le secteur des TIC, mais aussi dans l’enseignement professionnel et postsecondaire. Aujourd’hui, vous savez, comme nous avons l’IB dans le secondaire, ou nous avons dans le système universitaire, nous avons des campus annexes et nous avons des universités qui travaillent au niveau transnational. Il est intéressant, à l’heure de la mondialisation de l’économie, que la certification transnationale ait une plus grande valeur que la certification nationale et elle écrit à ce sujet, en particulier dans le domaine de l’enseignement technique professionnel, que c’est comme une marque de fabrique d’avoir une certification privée transnationale. Et la façon dont ils fonctionnent, vous n’avez même pas besoin du gouvernement, vous avez juste besoin d’une association professionnelle. Nous avons toujours pensé que le gouvernement est la condition sine qua non de l’éducation, et que son gouvernement ou une organisation intergouvernementale, vous savez, trans, vous savez, une organisation intergouvernementale, mais les Nations unies ou la Banque mondiale ou l’OCDE – mais maintenant nous passons à une accréditation privée transnationale. Ils se réunissent en association professionnelle et ce sont des fournisseurs privés qui accréditent les diplômes, ce qui leur permet de faire des économies, de mettre de l’argent dans les relations publiques, de les faire connaître, de disposer d’un ensemble de critères de qualification et d’assurance qualité, de fonctionner avec ces critères, les gouvernements les achètent et les clients privés les achètent également. Au CIES, il y a eu quelques présentations très intéressantes sur le sujet. C’est aussi un phénomène nouveau que vous pouvez traiter et fournir l’éducation sans que le gouvernement n’intervienne, surtout au niveau de l’enseignement supérieur, sans que le gouvernement n’intervienne et que les gens ne paient pour cela. Les gouvernements peuvent payer pour cela, mais même à l’heure de la société de la connaissance et de l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie, même le client privé, vous le savez, est prêt à le faire.

Will Brehm:  35:53
Eh bien, Gita Steiner-Khamsi, merci beaucoup de nous avoir rejoints sur FreshEd.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi:  35:55
Merci beaucoup. C’était un plaisir de vous parler, Will.

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