Expert Moves: International Comparative Testing and the Rise of Expertocracy

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Abstract

Through a sociological analysis of the knowledge and actors that have become
central to international assessments, the paper focuses on the processes that influence
the production of shared narratives and agendas, adopting the position that
their existence is not organic, but rather the product of undertakings that often
fabricate and manage, rather than strive for ‘real’ consensus. The paper suggests
that limiting the analysis to the role of travel and exchanges of experts and policy-
makers in the making of policy is, in fact, the construction of an ‘ideal-type’
of an international policy-making world. Recent research on these encounters
suggests that one needs to focus on actors’ conflict and struggles, rather than processes
of ‘collective puzzling’. Using the concept of ‘political work’, as well as
elements of Bourdieu’s field theory, the paper shows the ways that international
comparative testing in the field of education has not only offered policy-makers
with much needed data to govern, but has in fact almost fused the realms of
knowledge and policy; expertise and the selling of undisputed, universal policy
solutions have now drifted into one single entity and function.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Early online date6 Feb 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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