Does privilege have sensory dimensions? Our guest today is Howard Prosser, lecturer at Monash University’s Faculty of Education, who recently co-edited a volume entitled In the Realm of the Senses: Social Aesthetics and the Sensory Dynamics of Privilege (Springer 2015). This volume won an honorable mention in the 2015-2016 Globalization and Education Special Interest Group book award.

Together with Johannah Fahey and Matthew Shaw, Dr. Prosser argues that “within elite schools there is a relationship between ‘complex sensory and aesthetic environments’ and the construction of privilege within and beyond the school gates. Understanding the importance of the visual to ethnography, the social aesthetics of the elite schools studied in this volume are captured through the inclusion of a series of visual essays that complement the written accounts of the aesthetics of privilege. The collection also includes a series of vignettes that further explore the sensory dimension of these aesthetics: touch, taste—though metaphorically understood— sight and sound. These varying formats illustrate the aesthetic nature of social relations and the various ways in which class permeates the senses. The images from across the different schools and their surroundings immerse the reader in these worlds and provide poignant ethnographic data of the forces of globalization within the context of elite schooling.”

Dr. Prosser spoke with FreshEd contributor Rolf Straubhaar.

Competition within and across universities is so common that it may not seem like a big deal. Professors compete for tenure. Students compete to get into a best universities. And universities compete for rankings.

But where does this competition come from and what effects is it having on higher education systems?

My guest today is Prof. Rajani Naidoo, professor in higher education management at the University of Bath. She recently edited a special issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education looking at what she calls the “competition fetish” in higher education. The special issue, which comes out later this year, brings together articles that show the varieties of competition and the various ways actors channel, reproduce, internalize and secure competition logics. Some of the articles address the consequences of competition.

Prof. Naidoo presented some of the ideas discussed here in her Worldviews lecture. 

Citation: Naidoo, Rajani, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 20, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/rajaninaidoo/

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Educational transfer or policy borrowing is one of the major topics in comparative education. When I spoke with Rattana Lao in episode 7 of FreshEd, we discussed the ways in which a culture of borrowing has emerged in Thailand’s educational quality assurance system.

On today’s show, I continue the conversation on educational transfer and policy borrowing with Jason Beech, a professor in the School of Education at the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires.  Jason critiques the very terms of educational transfer, suggesting the language we use is limited. Why, he asks, is it that the focus is always on policy and not other aspects of education? And has the very notion of globalization lost its cutting edge in terms of theory and method?

Instead of using grand narratives of domination or resistance, Jason uses relational notions of space, which I have talked about on other shows with Marianne Larsen and Jane Kenway. New spatial thinking provides Jason a language to think through new theoretical approaches to educational transfer. In an article co-written in 2015 and published in the journal Globalization, Societies, and Education, Jason uses the case of the one laptop per child scheme in Argentina and actor-network theory to show how material and non-material actors create educational space and new vocabularies for educational transfer.

Jane Kenway is an emeritus professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. For the past several years, Professor Kenway has led a team of scholars and students from around the world on a multi-sited global ethnography of elite schools in 12 countries.

The study explores the global forces, connections and imaginations on elite schools, and hopes to enhance our understanding of how many national and transnational leaders are formed through their education.

The project has resulted in many publications, some of which you can find here. Will Brehm spoke with Professor Kenway in January on one of her recent pieces about how she and her team conducted this research, comparing more “traditional” forms of ethnography with her use of “global multi-sited ethnography.”

Citation: Kenway, Jane, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 13, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/janekenway/

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Right-wing extremism in Germany has made headlines in recent weeks, with the first publication since World War II of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, and the anti-immigrant protests that have peppered the country since a group of immigrants attacked women in Cologne. More broadly, the past decade has witnessed a steady rise of far right politics and social movements across Europe — from the rise of the Golden Dawn party in Greece to the 2011 mass shootings in Norway.

My guest today, Cynthia Miller Idriss, talks about her forthcoming book, “The Extreme goes Mainstream?: the Commercialization of Far Right Youth Subculture in Germany,” which will be published later this year by Princeton University Press. Over the past several years, Dr. Miller Idriss has collected thousands of images from the far right youth subculture and conducted interviews in schools where extremism thrives. She argues “that far from being mere ‘subcultural style,’ commercialized extremist products can be a gateway to radicalization and violence by both helping to strengthen racist and nationalist identification and by acting as conduits of resistance to mainstream society.”

Today’s topic is space in educational research.

My guest is Marianne Larsen, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario. Dr. Larsen’s recent research focuses on the overall processes and effects of the internationalization of higher education. She has been researching how internationalization policies are taken up ‘on-the-ground’, as well as the role of higher education leaders in advancing internationalization agendas.

Her most recent book, Internationalizing Higher Education: An Analysis through Spatial, Mobility and Network Theories builds upon her work to advance the use of new spatial and mobilities theories in comparative education research.

I spoke with Dr. Larsen in 2016 about how she and her colleague Jason Beech theorize the concept of educational space not as an object of study but as a set of relations between individuals and groups. Their articles on new spatial thinking can be found in the 2014 Spring issue of European Education and the May 2014 issue of Comparative Education Review.

[Updated and re-aired on July 30, 2018. Originally aired on July 21, 2016]

In many Caribbean countries, students are taught to be so-called “ideal Caribbean persons.” This phenomenon is of interest to some educational researchers because this discourse defines a Caribbean person instead of, say, a Jamaican person or a Haitian person. What this suggests is that a regional social imaginary has usurped the long held need by state governments to cultivate a national imaginary through public schools.

So why has there been an increasing emphasis on regional level collaboration and reform initiatives in education that have resulted in or attempt to build regional social imaginaries?
My guest today, Dr. Tavis Jules, an Assistant Professor of Cultural and Educational Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago, argues that the the rise of the Caribbean educational policy space was driven by various regulations constructed by supranational organizations and institutions and then implemented at the national level. He studied this convergence by comparing the discourse in policy documents at the regional and national level.

Tavis’ most recent book, Neither world polity nor local or national societies: Regionalization in the Global South – the Caribbean Communitywas published by Peter Lang Press in 2012. Tavis speaks on FreshEd about his latest article on the Caribbean Educational Policy Space, which was published in the November issue of the Comparative Education Review.