What Gets Brought Into The Frame? Curriculum Inquiry, Knowledge, The Global And The Local

Year: 2015

Author: Yates, Lyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A visitor to education research conferences might take away two somewhat different impressions of the field of curriculum inquiry. On the one hand they would see a huge amount of attention to the transnational and global as a basis for analysing what curriculum does, alongside abstract models and big picture theories of curriculum as a process. On the other hand they would also find a large number of papers that from an outsider’s perspective might seem to be specifically national and even parochial in their concerns: examining in great detail developments or curriculum debates and controversies taking place in a national or sub-national (state, district) context, usually within a historical comparative perspective: what has changed and what does it signify? Is the latter approach simply an outdated form of ‘methodological nationalism’ (cf Robertson & Dale 2008)? Or is the fascination with the big picture and the global, the kind of ‘god’s eye’ view from nowhere and prioritising of big politics over everyday practices that feminist scholars such as Haraway (1988) and Smith (1988) cautioned against? How can we adequately understand the specificity and changing forms of curriculum as a foundation for students as compared with making more superficial political judgements about changing policy rhetoric? This paper considers some different uses of national curriculum in contemporary research.
Haraway, D. (1988) Situated Knowledges: the science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective, Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599.
Robertson, S. & Dale, R. (2008) Researching Education in a Globalising Era: beyond methodological nationalism, methodological statism, methodological educationism and spatial fetishism’, in J Resnik (Ed) The Production of Educational Knowledge in the Global Era. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 19 – 32.
Smith, D.E. (1988) The Everyday World as Problematic: a feminist sociology. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Lyn Yates is foundation professor of curriculum at the University of Melbourne. She is an author and co-editor of Australia’s Curriculum Dilemmas (MUP 2011) and Curriculum in Today’s World (Routledge 2011) and is working on a book (with P Woelert, V. Millar & K.O’Connor) on Knowledge at the Crossroads: history and physics in the changing world of schools and universities.