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Professional Life and Work

Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe

Developing a Conceptual Framework for Understanding


Our work on studying generations as originally planned (see introduction) has led us to conceptualise historical periods of restructuring. In identifying generations we began to capture a pattern of historical periods of vital concern for the organising and positioning in relation to certain events. This is why our conceptual analysis focuses on periods of unease and develops a theory of long waves of educational reform. The work uses the French historical methodology developed by the ‘Annaliste’ School of historians. They focus on particular conjunctures where broad-based re­structuring is promoted. It is possible to identify particular historical periods where maximal ‘windows of opportunity’ for broad-based restructuring exists.

For this reason it is crucial when dealing with educational transitions and reform initiatives to identify and understand historical periodisation and its conceptual and methodological limitations. The definition of periods allows us to define the possibility for professional action and professional narratives at particular points in historical time. We have found in the ProfKnow project that the capacities for action and narrative construction differ greatly according to the historical periods studied. Moreover we can begin to see how each country, and in some cases regions, have different systemic trajectories. These historical trajectories mean that restructuring approaches each state or region from, so to speak, a different angle. Historical periods and trajectories can be seen as refracting centralised restructuring initiatives. As we argued in studying translation and diffusion gives us access to the processes of refraction (see Goodson 2004).

Because of the complexity of historical periodisation we asked each national team to prepare their own historical analysis. There periodisation tells us important facts about changes in education and health care in their respective national contexts. But they also tell us about the manner in which different national teams organise their ways of dealing with these state institutions. Their perceptions of welfare state developments are themselves therefore periodised.

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Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe
  • Date of publication: 01/01/2010
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 124
  • Publisher: Sense Publishers
  • Co-author: Goodson, I. F., & Lindblad, S. (Eds.)
  • Subject:
    Professional Life and Work
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: $39
  • ISBN: 978-94-6091-377-8
  • Buy used and new from: Amazon uk