Comparative and International Education: Survey of an Infinite Field: Volume 36

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Table of contents

(16 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xxi
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Abstract

The scope and breadth of the field of comparative and international education (CIE) is immense. There are few, if any, limitations on theme, issue, theory, method, or data that are relevant to CIE. In addition, every context or combination of contexts – social, political, economic, cultural – are available for both CIE scholars and professionals to do research on or work in. The flexibility and scope of the field can be a benefit, but create serious challenges to those who work in and study it. It also poses problems for those attempting to professionalize the field by creating areas of specialization or ownership. At the same time, the development of the field has historically been one of push and pull between international educational agendas and organizations with local or stakeholder-driven needs and situations. This chapter highlights those challenges and introduces the volume’s chapters.

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This chapter looks at how various scholars have attempted to structure the “infinite field” by defining the appropriate theory and methods. These efforts have centered on a conception of what it would take to make comparative education a “science,” and how one could achieve “objective knowledge.” While these concerns were important for comparative educationists throughout the nineteenth century, who mostly favored a historical approach, the debate became more heated and more urgent in the 1960s when a number of key players published competing positions. This coincided with a time when the claim to a basis in science was being used to introduce a range of new subjects to higher education and establish disciplines like sociology on a firm institutional footing. Subsequently some of the heat went out of the debate about theory and method. A number of possible causes can be identified, including (i) that it became apparent comparative education was not going to achieve disciplinary status on a par with sociology; (ii) de facto comparative educationists handed the palm to Bereday, and carried on doing comparative education as he had described it; and (iii) the appetite for global theorizing waned to be replaced by partial theories, many of them based on general concerns for social justice and drawing on a broadly Marxist definition of “science.” The chapter concludes with reflections on the fact that healthy debate about methodology and theory can drive the development of the field, and that in the absence of explicit debate there is the danger that certain assumptions, especially assumptions that do not recognize the importance of context, can come to dominate the field by stealth.

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In this chapter, the authors provide a historical overview of the development of comparative and international education societies throughout the earth. In most cases, these societies have gradually grown and continue to thrive; in other cases, some comparative education societies have become dormant and a few no longer exist. A historical analysis that outlines the rise and fall of comparative education societies is provided. An overview of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies is also discussed, including its lead organizational role in serving as a historical hub to help comparative education societies preserve and disseminate their respective histories. The chapter concludes with suggestions on how anyone can get involved to help contribute to the history preservation of comparative education at the individual, national, regional, and global levels.

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This chapter aims to reconstruct the trajectory of comparative education in Brazil using the timeline concept to identify structural elements in the emergence and reconfiguration of this field of study. The timeline historical perspective allows us to use two additional features: (a) the reconstruction of the scenario in which emerge the intellectual productions; and simultaneously (b) identify how themes, issues, and research objects appears, whether in a homogeneous association or not. These elements allow us to associate comparative and historical methods to recognize the supranational and supraregional influence, determining the configuration of what is meant by comparative education in Brazil. The text distinguishes seven different moments for the Brazilian comparative educational area, which are: (1) the study of the structure and functioning of European and North American systems education; (2) the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) pioneering influence on the production of annuals; (3) the prioritization of educational practices; (4) the influence of supranational relations; (5) the focus on educational public policies; (6) new cycle of supranational influence; and (7) (re)definition of the theoretical, methodological, and epistemological anchorage of comparative education. In the last quarter century, it can be said that there is a resurgence of Comparative Education in Brazil and the region, which may be associated with strong historical influences, here reconstructed by periodization.

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In this chapter, the authors analyze the academic field of comparative education in Spanish speaking Latin America as a contested construction both in epistemological and political dimensions. First, the authors provide a brief historical account of the origin and development of comparative education in the region since the nineteenth century. Next, they focus on the current state of the field by addressing three aspects: (1) the institutional basis, specially the development of comparative education societies; (2) an account of the contributions of international organizations, both in terms of studies that have been recently conducted and of the development of data bases; and (3) an analysis of prevailing topics as well as theoretical and methodological approaches in a sample of articles published during the 2010-2017 period. The authors conclude by summarizing the main aspects of the current situation, and pointing to future epistemological and political challenges for the field in the region.

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In this chapter, the authors provide a historical overview of the development of comparative and international education in North America from 1920s to the beginning of the twenty-first century. The authors document the significant role some of the most influential leaders played to help lay the foundation for comparative education societies in Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, and the United States. Using historical comparative research technique, the authors examine the many interconnections of current and past leaders. The authors conclude with recommendations on how knowing the history can help strengthen comparative and international education development well into the future.

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The authors of this chapter focus on the development of comparative education in 10 countries of Eastern and Central Europe. A historical approach is applied to the study of the main characteristics of comparative education. The first part of the chapter is devoted to the origin of comparative education studies in this region from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries till the end of the nineteenth century. The second part of the chapter examines the process of establishment of comparative education as a science and the appearance of the first lecture courses on comparative education in some countries of this region from the beginning of the twentieth century till the end of World War II. The third part presents the state of comparative education during the years of socialism – from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fourth part surveys the modern development of comparative education in Eastern and Central Europe from the beginning of democratic changes in 1989 to the present day. While presenting comparative education in each historical period, the authors first show the most prominent comparativists, then emphasize on comparative education as a university discipline, and finally synthesize the main characteristics of the development of comparative education during the period of view. The chapter concludes with some generalizations on the four periods.

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This chapter presents the development of Comparative Education in the most representative countries for this discipline in Western Europe, taking into account the diachronic evolution (since the first texts of Jullien de Paris in 1718 or the written work of Sadler in 1900) and the synchronicity of the discipline from which our patterns of committed intellectual activism have been perceived and have consequently allowed the regulation of its current mapping.

Special reference will be given to some of the classic and renewed dilemmas that have prevailed over the decades as cross-cutting themes of interest for specialists in Comparative Education with issues related to denomination, its purposes of ideographic or nomothetic nature, its sometimes problematic entailment with International Education, the significance of the lending and transferring policies in the current scenarios or the present increasing globalization phenomenon in our educational reality, among others.

The chapter also aims at recognizing the possibilities and, at the same time, the limitations currently faced by “Comparative Educations” in Cowen´s words, through working effectively with the most idiosyncratic signs of identity in the discourse and its most immediate future projection in the coming years.

We focus our article on the reasons that support the importance of the discipline: the global evolution of the current supranational scenarios from a social, economic or cultural perspective; the state of education since the contribution of educational policies or the situation of higher education in the context of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) that, among other aspects, mark the good stage through which the analyzed discipline is experiencing.

Finally, the ratification of this statement is complemented by the firm consolidation of Comparative Education in the European context, giving reference not only to the articulation of its own associations or societies created but also to the journals emerged from them, with a notable impact on the rest of the world and their special contribution to the dissemination of the purposes of the discipline related to the generation and diffusion of policies and practices from a comparative view.

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This chapter focuses on the definition of the Arab World. This is followed by a treatise on the meaning and purpose of comparative education. Next, the origin and development of comparative education in the Arab World is discussed. Trends and progress of comparative education in the region receive significant attention and discussion. Finally, the research methodologies and research interests of comparative educationists are examined.

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This chapter explores the current development of Comparative Education in Central Asia through two parts: a general review of knowledge production with reference to Central Asia in top Comparative Education journals, followed by the development of Comparative Education in Kazakhstan as well as its policy priorities as an example. The example of Kazakhstan shows that scholars, policy-makers, international organizations, and educational practitioners have long been active in comparison in the country. However, the organizational trajectory, particularly the lack of a formal academic program and textbooks in its national languages, is slowing down the pace for Comparative Education to grow into a full-fledged academic field.

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Several countries in South Asia face the challenge of ineffective educational reforms manifest in increasing rates of school failure and poor learning outcomes after embarking along education for all. Critical voices from the South have questioned the relevance and appropriateness of ideas that have shaped these reforms. Narratives from the region tell us that importation of educational concepts and policy orientations have led to the dismantling of existing structures and processes of education, creating new forms of inequities and disadvantage. The sheer scale and diversity of populations within the region poses formidable challenges and opportunities for contextual innovation. The construction of national imaginaries in the diverse societies of South Asia has the potential to provide new discourses to educational reform; going beyond the abstract goals set by disconnected international experts and the institutional processes they represent. This chapter deliberates on the need to establish a persuasive critical perspective that can influence and shape the trajectories of policy and practice, research and theorization, within the field of comparative education in South Asia, and the global south.

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This chapter discusses the nature of International and Comparative Education in East and South East Asia through the different organizations, networks, and programs formed to cater to the field. It gives an overview of the existing networks in international and comparative education, related activities, and studies instituted to strengthen the field in the region. Given the more developed network in East Asia, this chapter also highlights the increasing importance of international and comparative education in South East Asia, through the broader base of objectives also defined in the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC) of 2015. Opportunities and policy reorientations (in education) set to present and utilize the field in both regions are also examined.

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Through the ideas of and within Oceania that we outline, and within which we locate architecture and institutions for CIE regionally, we illustrate the identified turning points through analysis of dynamic and intersecting trajectories of the Oceania Comparative and International Education Society (OCIES), formerly the Australia and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society (ANZCIES), and the Vaka Pasifiki, formerly the Rethinking Pacific Education Initiative for and by Pacific Peoples (RPEIPP) project. We offer initial responses to an over-arching theme in posing the question: how, and through what processes, have these groups influenced understandings of ‘regionalism’ for CIE within Oceania? This involves examining the conferences, financing, membership, the Society journal/publications and aspects of CIE education of the two bodies.

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Over the past 65 years, Sub-Saharan Africa has been the terrain of the biggest education expansion drive in human history (Wolhuter & Van Niekerk, 2009). On top of this expansion, Africa has been the site of imaginative experiments and innovations in education (Samoff & Carrol, 2013, p. 403). These all seem to offer attractive and fertile ground for Comparative and International Education scholarship to flourish. This chapter surveys the historical development and current presence of various facets of the scholarly field of Comparative and International Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ultimate aim is to chart a future course for the field in the context of the meteoric rise (economically, demographically, and politically) of the continent. To commence with, an overview of this context is first given. Subsequently the history of formal education and then of higher education in the region are sketched. The evolution and current state of Comparative and International Education within this context is then surveyed, concluding with a reflection on its future prospects and course.

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Index

Pages 269-283
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Cover of Comparative and International Education: Survey of an Infinite Field
DOI
10.1108/S1479-3679201936
Publication date
2019-08-26
Book series
International Perspectives on Education and Society
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78743-392-2
eISBN
978-1-78743-391-5
Book series ISSN
1479-3679