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Education policy is being reformed and re-worked on a global scale. Policies are flowing and converging to produce a singular vision of 'best practice' based on the methods and tenets of the 'neo-liberal imaginary'. Philanthropy, business and the governments are coming together in new networks and sites of policy outside of the framework of the nation state. This book is a first step in recording, mapping and making sense of the most important aspects of these new relations and dynamics of policy. Using the approach of 'policy sociology' and the methods of social network analysis, Stephen Ball explores the policy activities of edu-businesses, neo-liberal advocacy networks and policy entrepreneurs, and of social enterprises and 'new' philanthropy. He also addresses the ways in which education and education policy itself are now being exported and bought and sold as profitable commodities and how entrenched problems of educational development and educational quality and access are now being addressed through 'market solutions'. That is, by the involvement of private providers in the delivery of educational services, both independently and on behalf of the state.
Ball argues that significant changes are taking place in how policy and public services get 'done' and suggests that the sum of these changes indicates the beginning of the end of state education in its 'welfare' form. A set of new, blurred relationships and 'interests' within policy and within state education are outlined. This book will be of interest to practising policy analysts and theorists and will be a learning resource for policy studies students: the issues and examples are topical; the literature employed is diverse and up-to-date; and the analysis engages with cutting-edge debates in political science, sociology, social policy and social geography.
Stephen J. Ball is Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.