This chapter wishes to reiterate the crucial distinction, made by Max Weber as early as 1922, between scientific research and political action, and to recall the principles of separation and mediation from which the comparative and international approach in education sometimes derives. The current policies of education in a globalized world, planned at an international level, tend to euphemize cultural differences, and finally impose a functional and normative approach of what is meaningful, in the education arena. As a matter of fact, the concepts that comprise a language, that are disseminated and become established in a social world, are culturally rooted, though they are borne of history through dynamic and linguistic uses. By neglecting the social and cultural provenance of words and meanings, there is a danger that one can end up with a comparability based on functional equivalencies alone. The purely instrumental rationality that favors the spread of such frameworks or interpretative models appears indifferent to questions of meaning and culture, apart from being irrational on an axiological level. In keeping with the researcher’s responsibility to mediate, one must promote clarification and mutual understanding, replacing the standardization of words with a strong and critical illumination of the semiotic variations generated by their use. For this to be realized, efforts to challenge and reconceptualize the field deserve sustained theoretical tools promoting the very hermeneutic task of comparative education, in ways that more pertinently bridge a diversity of intellectual, professional, and societal cultures, in the context of a global program of neutralization of differences and otherness.
Malet, R. (2013), "Comparative Education Facing the New Politics of the Otherness: Some Conceptual Developments for the Field", Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2013 (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 91-98. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3679(2013)0000020013
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