Educational Policies in the Partnership Era

Saint-Etienne (France),

June 28-29, 2018


Call for papers

In recent years, governing through partnerships has become more and more common and is today reflected in the educational sector. In many countries “joined-up policy”, “cross-sector collaboration”, “partnership” and “multi-agency working” have become some of the key words of educational policies. In a context where public funding is shrinking, this organizational pattern aims to increase the effectiveness of public action by coordinating the action of “partners” (public agencies, teachers, social workers, healthcare professionals and third sector to name but a few). The objective of this international conference is to analyze these policies by questioning and comparing their genesis and their effects.

Four lines of work could be considered.

1.      The genesis of the partnership paradigm in educational policies

A first line of work deals with the genesis of the partnership paradigm in educational policies. When did it appear? In which national and political context? What is the relationship between these local educational policies and the development of neoliberalism (Boltkanski & Chiapello, 1999), types of governmentality (Foucault, 1979) like “local governance” (Rhodes, 1997) or “new public management” (Clarke & Newman, 1997; Newman & Clarke, 2009) and trends in educational policy (Ball, 1990; Mons, 2007; Verger & Bonal, 2013)? Which actors and organizations (political, professional, non-professional, etc.) supported it? The study of the partnership paradigm leads us to question some of the traditional divisions between different social groups whose reasons for converging in defending partnership-based approaches are to be studied (rejection of centralism, criticism of institutions and occupational closure, etc.).


2.      Implementations

Papers in a second line of enquiry would also be welcome. These might study how partnerships in educational policies are implemented, by describing the characteristics of the different programmes targeting different populations in various countries (like the area-based “Education Action Zones” or “Sure Start” in England, “Zones d’éducation prioritaire” and “Programmes de Réussite éducative” in France, “Planes Educativos de Entorno” or “Alianzas Magnet” in Spain). They could explore the goals of these programmes and analyze the way collaborations are planned and established or how partnership weighs on the educational contents of educational policies (educational work in institutions, curricula in schools, etc.). The professionalization of coordination activities could be explored. International comparisons are welcomed.


3.      Effects on the division of labour

It would also be of interest to study the effects of these programmes on the social division of labour. What kind of socialization takes place in these programmes? Can hybridization effects on work be observed? Understanding socialization effects requires studying the often-denied power relations established in partnership-based environments. This sets a theoretical problem. How can the “state of worthiness” or “greatness” (Boltanski, Thevenot, 2006) of each participant in these programmes be established and compared between “partners”? Can we identify some “social skills” (Fligstein, Mc Adam, 2012) particularly worthy in this kind of environment?


4.      Looking for a new conceptual frame?

The multiplication and the institutionalization of partnership programmes bringing together actors that have been traditionally isolated calls into question the kind of sociological tools needed to study the relations between actors from different backgrounds. Should these programmes be analyzed as an intersection of “fields” (Bourdieu, 1980) or the cooperation of “worlds” (Becker, 1982)? Or should they be apprehended as more autonomous spaces and, consecutively, analyzed in terms of “network” or “ecology” (Abbott, 1988) or “neutral places” (lieux neutres, cf. Bourdieu & Boltanski, 1976; Bourdieu, 2000)? Does this organizational pattern encourage the use of new concepts?



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Scientific committee : François Baluteau (Professor, Education, Cultures, Politiques, University of Lyon 2), Claire Autant-Dorier (Assistant professor, Centre Max Weber, University of Saint-Etienne), Daniel Frandji (Assistant Professor, Triangle, University of Lyon 1), Kirstin Kerr (Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester) ; Thierry Michalot (Assistant professor, Education, Cultures, Politiques, University of Saint-Etienne), Stanislas Morel (Assistant professor, Education, Cultures, Politiques, University of Saint-Etienne), Jean-Paul Payet (Professor, Satie, University of Geneva) ; Manon Pesle (Assistant professor, Education, Cultures, Politiques, University of Saint-Etienne), Valérie Sala-Pala (Professor, Triangle, University of Saint-Etienne), Nicolas Sallée (Professor, University of Montréal); Sally Power (Professor, Cardiff University) ; Aina Tarabini (Professora, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).


Organised by the research center Éducation, Cultures, Politiques (Lyon 2 / Saint-Etienne)

Submitting papers

This call for papers is aimed at scholars as well as doctoral students from several disciplines – sociology, but also political science, history, geography, philosophy, economics, etc. Proposals on various national configurations are welcome as they should allow us to study the phenomena of partnership-based educational policies from an international perspective. Papers are expected to discuss the results, theoretical imports and methods of the research.


February 2, 2018: submission of proposals

Marsh 9, 2018: outcome of peer review (by two members of the scientific committee)

June 1, 2018: submission of papers to the scientific committees

Format for paper submission

– Name

– Status

– Discipline

– Teaching and research affiliation

– Email

– Paper’s title

– Proposal (3000 to 4000 characters, spaces included)

– Main bibliographical references

Languages: English, French or Spanish

Address for any contact (proposal submissions, papers, or queries): or

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