Keeping school networks fluid:
networks in dialogue with
Wiel Veugelers and Henk Zijlstra
In modern Western society, the traditional structures and organizations from the ‘first modernity’, with its hierarchical models and well-structured and distinct components, are today confronted by the individualization trends of the ‘second modernity’ (Beck et al. 1994; Castells 1996; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 2002). The ‘second modernity’ stresses the growing autonomy of individuals and individual organizations. Governments are being forced to find new ways of bringing these relatively autonomous subjects and institutions together, and to change their own structures of leadership and control. This need for new structures is particularly apparent in present-day education. Education in the ‘second modernity’ is still regarded as a vital agency for identity construction and a significant component of a national cultural policy.
School networks are seen as important new structures for bringing about change in education. In order to change upper secondary education in the Netherlands, we stimulate bringing schools together in networks. Schools learn from each other, analyse each other's practices and develop various joint initiatives. In this chapter we present our experiences and analyse critical elements in creating and sustaining networks.
Networks always function in a political, cultural and educational context. They are at the same time a product of these influences and they also influence this context. For analysing the relationship between educational change and identity development, we use the concept of citizenship (Giroux