Comparative and International Research in Education: Globalisation, Context and Difference

Comparative and International Research in Education: Globalisation, Context and Difference

Comparative and International Research in Education: Globalisation, Context and Difference

Comparative and International Research in Education: Globalisation, Context and Difference


From the foreword: This book is a major contribution to the field of comparative and international education. It has been co-authored by two distinguished figures, who write with authority and clarity, and who present conceptual insights which add creative and intellectual vitality to the field at a time of major change and development. Changing geopolitical relations, the acceleration of globalisation and major advances in information and communication technology have all transformed and revitalised international and comparative research in education. This multidisciplinary book critically examines the implications of this change for those engaged in such work worldwide. Groundbreaking and insightful, it draws on the latest research and developments in the field to give a comprehensive overview and analysis of the contemporary condition of this valuable form of research. Drawing upon the authors' extensive international experience, the text: * Re-assesses the diverse and multidisciplinary origins of this field of study: * Documents the increased orientation towards research; * Explores the changing nature of the problems and issues faced by both new and experienced researchers; * Puts forward a coherent and well-informed case for a thorough reconceptualisation of the field as a whole. The book argues eloquently for increased cultural and contextual sensitivity in educational research and development in order that the field might make a more effective contribution to educational theory, policy and practice. This multidisciplinary work will be welcomed by a wide range of theorists and researchers in education and the social sciences, as well as teachers, policymakers and anyone concerned with improving dialogue and understanding across cultures and nations.


The world is never static. Even in periods when everything appears to remain the same, streams of change, however small, exist. But in some periods myriad streams of change all flow into a giant river of transformation. Change becomes apparent when the different currents 'encounter' each other and the obstacles in their paths … All the streams of change that have been flowing quietly and even slowly during the century are now overflowing their banks.

(Miller 1991:i)

In this book we recognise that the processes of globalisation are advancing simultaneously with a rich variety of poststructuralist challenges to the nature and form of much social and educational research - and to related developments in educational policy and practice. Indeed, throughout the book, we suggest that the tensions that are emerging between the ideas and developments that underpin globalisation on the one hand, and the theoretical perspectives that prioritise difference on the other, generate what may be the most fundamental of all intellectual challenges of the present day. It is this combination of perspectives that inspired the sub-title of the book itself, and that informs the content and title, 'Globalisation, Context and Difference', of Chapter 4. The concept of context has, however, long been of central importance to the multidisciplinary field of comparative and international education; and, for us, it holds increased significance for the quality and relevance of future educational research and educational development worldwide.

In the light of these issues and developments, and drawing upon our own international experience - in contexts as diverse as the small states of the Caribbean and the South Pacific, the post-industrial economies of Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom, and the highly populated nations of China and Pakistan - we demonstrate how and why culture and context increasingly matters. In doing so we critically explore the current and future potential of comparative and international research in education. The history and traditions of this field, we suggest, deserve renewed consideration in times when the uncritical international transfer of educational policy and practice is increasingly evident - and ever more possible with the advent of modern information and communications technologies.

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