BiWi-International Lecture Series

Dr. Tore Bernt Sorensen, University of Kraków

Wednesday, October 19th, 5 pm, Hörsaal 1 (Sensengasse 3A, 1. OG)


The myths and promises of education: The cultural political economy of educationalization in European Union governance

How did European policy-making strategically use education and lifelong learning as key instrumentsto solve social and economic problems? Based on an analysis policy documents and interviews withpolicy actors, this presentation will delve into this question through the perspective ofeducationalization. As a governing strategy, educationalization has historically been central in theformation of nation-states, underpinned by the expansion of schooling as means of moral and socialregulation of tensions related to nation-building and capitalist developments. Widely embraced acrossEurope and globally over recent decades, educationalization has also been propagated through andby multilateral international fora such as the OECD, the World Bank and UNESCO.

Recent public policy studies suggest that also EU institutions have adopted this strategy. Since the1990s, education has thus become increasingly central to the EU’s political agenda and opened thepolicy area to influences from other areas – and vice versa. During the 2010s, this was evident in majordevelopments in EU governance, such as the European Semester, EU level social dialogue, and theEuropean Pillar of Social Rights, all of which explicitly address education. In the process, ‘education’has been reconceived as ‘lifelong learning’, imbued with the perpetual striving for quality andefficiency and marking a departure from previous attempts to nurture European identity and acommon consciousness through Euro-symbols and elitist high culture.

This presentation focuses on the policy actors of the European Commission, the European Economicand Social Committee, and European cross-sectoral and sectoral social partners in education. Thepresentation will analyze how these actors have employed the strategy of educationalization via themethodological approach of cultural political economy, distinguished by its consideration of semioticas well as material factors in explaining political and social outcomes.

Tore Bernt Sorensen is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Taube Centre for Advanced Studies in the SocialSciences at the Faculty of International and Political Studies, Jagiellonian University Kraków

This event is organized by the Department of Education of University of Vienna and will befollowed by an open reception.