From Class to Identity: The Politics of Education Reforms in Former Yugoslavia

From Class to Identity: The Politics of Education Reforms in Former Yugoslavia

From Class to Identity: The Politics of Education Reforms in Former Yugoslavia

From Class to Identity: The Politics of Education Reforms in Former Yugoslavia

Synopsis

From Class to Identity offers an analysis of education policy-making in the processes of social transformation and post-conflict development in the Western Balkans. Based on a number of examples (case studies) of education reform in the former Yugoslavia from the decade before its violent breakup to contemporary efforts in post-conflict reconstruction it tells the story of the political processes and motivations underlying specific education reforms. The book moves away from technical-rational or prescriptive approaches that dominate the literature on education policy-making during social transformation, and offers an example on how to include the social, political and cultural context in the understanding of policy reforms. It connects education policy at a particular time in a particular place with broader questions such as: What is the role of education in society? What kind of education is needed for a 'good' society? Who are the 'targets' of education policies (individuals/citizens, ethnic/religious/linguistic groups, societies)? Bacevic shows how different answers to these questions influence the contents and outcomes of policies.

Excerpt

This book tells the story of the development of education policies in former Yugoslavia, as well as in some of its former constituent parts1 today. More than ten years have elapsed from the end of the violent conflict that forever changed the way the region is thought of, both in scholarly circles and among those who have the dubious fortune of sharing the citizenship of one (or more) of its successor states, but the region remains marked by the conflict and its different legacies. In this context, education is frequently conceptualized as the magic ingredient that can help the people in the region surmount these legacies, both in terms of enabling economic growth and combatting poverty and in terms of transmitting knowledge and skills that can mitigate social cleavages and tensions, and thus—or at least that’s how the international development credo goes—addressing both the causes and the consequences of the conflict.

This book aims to challenge this assumption, which, as a version of what Grubb and Lazerson (2004) have termed the “education gospel,” tends to be accepted almost without questioning both in policy and

There is considerable debate on what is the proper term to use for the political entities in the post-Yugoslav space. Where possible, this book refers to specific entities; otherwise, it utilizes the syntagms “former Yugoslav states,” “post-Yugoslavia” or “the successor states of former Yugoslavia” alternately, without assumptions of their status, etc.

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