The Field of Knowledge and the Policy Field in Education: PISA and the Production of Knowledge for Policy

From Section:
Theories & Approaches
May. 01, 2012

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 11 Number 2 2012, p. 189‑205.

The authors analyze the development and role of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) as a ‘cultural product’ from the perspective of Bourdieu’s field theory.

The authors attempt to answer the following questions:
Of which field is PISA the product?
In which field and by whom is PISA used and ‘consumed’?

The authors argue that the development of PISA is part of a broader transformation of equilibria within the field of (education) knowledge – i.e. a move away from its autonomous pole towards its heteronomous pole.

The authors further argue that the incorporation of PISA at the level of education policy fields also transforms their form and shape in two main ways.
Within policy fields, the diffusion and reception of PISA reinforces a heteronomous understanding of education which is defined mostly in terms of its contribution to external interests.
The diffusion of PISA also extends and, in a sense, dissolves the very boundaries of (national) education policy fields.
Specifically, the authors underline that such an internationalisation of the education policy fields progresses mainly at their heteronomous poles and through a heteronomous definition of education.

Updated: Nov. 08, 2019
Comparative education | Cultural influences | Education policies | International collaboration | International education | Theories