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The significant contribution and relevance of Comparative and International Education (CIE) mainly depends on how closely it studies the interplay between society and…
The significant contribution and relevance of Comparative and International Education (CIE) mainly depends on how closely it studies the interplay between society and education, considering what is dubbed as the global and the local. Many CIE studies including critical reviews seems to dwell on the topic, purpose, conceptual, and methodological aspects of the field, magnifying what appears to be the global. Our understanding of the role particular sociocultural, economic, and political contexts play in education seems inconclusive. Using appropriate analytical frameworks that delineate society–education dynamics, this study further problematizes the comparative and international elements of CIE area studies, with a focus on context analysis. The critical review considers area studies published over the last seven years in leading CIE journals and answers this question: How and to what extent do CIE area studies operationalize context analysis? The aim is not so much to bring consensus but to further highlight tensions and issues in conducting context-sensitive comparative and international education studies. The findings indicate that CIE research over the last seven years does not seem to live up to the expectation of producing meaningfully contextualized knowledge. The role of context analysis in CIE research seems ill defined and practiced. Alternative explanations for this and considerations for further scholarship are discussed.