Publications relating to education.

Empowered Individualism in World Culture: Agency and Equality in Canadian Textbooks, 1871-2006.

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Abstract: The sacred status of individuals is a central pillar of world culture in research on education and beyond. The intended socialization of students is increasingly to become empowered individuals that respect human equality and diversity in a globally-interconnected world. At the same time, we have little understanding of what exactly the concept of individual empowerment means or how to capture it empirically. This study builds on prior observations about the growing status of individuals by delineating the rise of two separate but related dimensions of empowerment – agency and equality – and outlining the rise of these dimensions in the Canadian educational context. To this end, it draws on a unique dataset consisting of a systematically designed coding of eighty history, civics, and social studies textbooks used in Canada from 1871 to 2006. Refining the concept of individual empowerment reveals that its manifestations are shaped by the local context, in addition to the influences that come from world culture. Overall, increasingly empowered individuals and the structures they create (often organizations and associations of various types) become key actors in national and international society. Looking to the future, if taken to an extreme, expansions in individual empowerment may lead to instances of “hyper-empowerment”, where depictions and enactments of individual choice, control, and equality far outpace reasonable expectations.

Policy and Administration as Culture: Organizational Sociology and Cross-National Education Trends.

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The study of public policy and administration, including research on education, has long been dominated by assumptions rooted in the disciplines of politics and management. Politicallyoriented research focuses on causal processes driven by power and self-interest, looking at sources of inequality and hegemony. Research using a management lens emphasizes economic notions of robust individual capacity for strategic and self-interested action, focusing on function and efficiency. Although some phenomena are well-described by these views, they overlook important elements of global educational administration and policy that are best understood through a cultural lens. Core features of contemporary policy and administration, such as privatization and the rise of network forms of governance, are not fully explained by ideas of power or function. Using examples from education, I show that a cultural explanatory framework, drawn from recent developments in organizational sociology, can provide additional insights into the most pressing global administrative and policy issues.

Legitimacy and the Contingent Diffusion of World Culture: Diversity and Human Rights in Social Science Textbooks, Divergent Cross-National Patterns (1970-2008)

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Over the twentieth century the celebration of both human rights and the rights of minorities have become central features of an emerging world culture. Although related in some respects, ideas of human and minority rights differ in their fundamental conception of society as made of either heterogeneous social
groups or universally equivalent individuals. I posit that the contradiction between universality and diversity in world culture leads to divergent patterns of diffusion into nation-states and provide evidence of this trend. The data consist of 523 high school social science textbooks from 74 countries published
between 1970 and 2008 coded for content relevant to human and minority rights. Using multilevel modeling, I find that increases in minority rights discussions occur mainly in stable democracies, in contrast to a worldwide rise in discussions of human rights. These findings contribute to studies of globalization, education, and minority and human rights by documenting the spread of global models of citizenship into national education systems and identifying limits to the diffusion of global principles.

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