Panel C.07 — The Role of Non-State Actors In Education Policy in Europe and at the Global Level and the Challenges to Social Justice

Convenors Paola Mattei (Università degli Studi di Milano); Teresa Pullano (Università degli Studi di Milano)

Keywords philanthropic organisations; privatisation; public education; citizenship; social justice


T.H.Marshall, the British sociologist who is well-known for his systematic account of social and democratic citizenship, reserves a special place to education. In his Citizenship and Social Class he closely connect citizenship, education and the role of the state. Indeed, for Marshall education has a direct influence on citizenship, and when the state guarantees the education of all citizens, it does so to shape citizenship (Marshall & Bottomore, 1987). Education is the necessary premise of civic freedom. Moreover, education is placed by Marshall, together with social services, at the heart of social citizenship. Marshall clearly identified the tension within liberal citizenship, that is the one between civic and political equality and class inequality. The central role he attributes to education in shaping democratic citizenship is precisely the one of articulating and, when possible, bridging the tension among these two dimensions of democratic life. For Marshall, “the growth of public elementary education during the nineteenth century was the first decisive step on the road to the re-establishment of the social rights of citizenship in the twentieth” (Marshall & Bottomore, 1987).

This panel proposes to investigate how the change of the relation between education, the role of the state and of public education, and social citizenship has been challenged by the changing regimes of accountability, the shaping of hybrid accountability (Benish & Mattei, 2020) and the new intervention of philanthropic and non-state actors in public education systems in Europe and at the global level (Grimaldi & Serpieri, 2013; Laval & Weber, 2002).

In this panel, we want to gather abstracts discussing how privatization, as well as the influence and the role of non-state actors in public education challenge the nexus between democratic and social citizenship and the state as well as public accountability.

Abstracts dealing with training, education policies, non-state actors, privatization, neoliberal reforms and the rescaling of regimes of accountability in education are welcome. We aim at investigating how these transformations in the regimes of public education affect social justice shifting regimes of social and democratic citizenship.

We call for investigating the new role of philanthropic organisations (think tanks, business organisations, private actors) in the field of education policy in Italy. We are interested in the role of foundations in the construction of policy advocacy and influence.

We argue that PO (philanthropic organisations) have acquired new centrality in policy influence. Our starting point for this panel is the multi-scalar governance context in which public education in Europe operates and develops. As various social actors collaborate and/or compete over policy directions, public education could be said to be delivered under increasingly hybrid accountability regimes.


Guidelines and abstracts submission