Globalization and challenges in studying the topologies in education policy: Can Appadurai take 'network ethnography' a step further?

Year: 2016

Author: Adhikary, Rino Wiseman

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Studying education policy has become increasingly difficult under the influences of globalization. This is so mainly because globalization has given rise to global education policy field. This field is, inter alia, the result of what is called as 'politics of scale' or the 'rescaling of contemporary politics'. This 'scalar politics' has activated and allowed forces and actors beyond and over the nation-state to operate and practice power within the state in matters of [education]policy making. The result of this politics also includes restructuring of state functioning, which is often highlighted as a move from government to governance to network governance. The consequence of this politics of scale and the associated network/governance modality is 'politics of place'. It means that through the workings of politics of scale and network/governance new transnational [business] actors and [corporate/philanthropic] organizations have emerged that work rather transnationally and through and across the traditional scales of supra-national, regional, national and subnational. These are policy networks that work topologically and are able to perform 'placement of practice' in a distantly connected networked manner. This topological environment of policy activity is also a result of globalization and depends upon to processes of globalization. Teach for All/America network is one such policy network. Network ethnography has so far been used by researchers in studying such networks. Network ethnography maps the actors and organizations within a network and often seeks to clarify the contents of the interactions between actors within a network. I propose that Appadurai (2006, 1996) can be used to structure the data collection in a systematic and theory-driven manner in this process. The basic idea is that Appadurai's (1996) five dimensions of global flows can give the broader categories of data to be collected in making network ethnography work more systematically and scientifically. It answers to the question of 'what to see and seek for in the field (internet) when we do network ethnography of a global policy network?'