Keynote Bob Lingard

Social Justice and Schooling in the Post-Westphalian Era

Professor Bob Lingard, University of Queensland, Australia



This Keynote Address will begin by attempting to define how we might think about social justice in our era of Post-Westphalian globalization. Here the argument will draw upon Nancy Fraser (2013) and focus on how we might ‘integrate struggles against maldistribution, misrecognition, and misrepresentation’ within this context with a specific focus on social justice and schooling. A major part of this analysis will document and analyse factors that inhibit such progressive political struggles and aspirations. This will include consideration of the new spatialities associated with globalization that destabilise the nation-state and social justice concerns only focused within nations. Migration patterns and flows of refugees and global professional elites will be traversed in relation to challenges to nation-state based social justice policies and schooling. The rearticulation of the concept of social justice to equity in schooling affected by policy as numbers, globally and nationally, will also be analysed. Here there will be a focus on both the OECD’s PISA and complementary national testing. Globalization and the neo-liberal have witnessed the restructuring of the state within nations, first through new public management and more recently through networked or heterarchical governance. With this restructuring, the state has ‘given up’ or ‘outsourced’ many of its capacities and functions (such as research, research for policy, policy development, professional development, test construction) to private commercial interests and edu-businesses. Related, an account will be provided of what Lawn (2013) has called a ‘systemless system’ of schooling and how the restructured state and systemless system opens up opportunities for the enhanced involvement in schooling of edu-businesses in and across the policy cycle.  We see a quasi-privatisation of the schooling policy community and of policy production and enactment.  A policy effect in schooling has been a narrowed focus on teacher and teaching quality as the ‘cause’ of improved learning and equity for all, including the most disadvantaged. The analysis will show how this reductive focus has occurred simultaneously with growing inequality. The Address will conclude with a consideration of the politics and policies necessary both nationally and globally to achieve social justice through schooling in our contemporary post-Westphalian era of neo-liberal self-responsibilising individualism.


Professor Bob Lingard is a Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Australia. He previously held the Andrew Bell Chair in Education at the University of Edinburgh, was a Research Professor at the University of Sheffield, and was for a time Head of the School of Education at the University of Queensland. He is the editor/author of 25 books, the most recent of which are: Globalizing Educational Accountabilities (Routledge, 2016), co-authored with Wayne Martino, Goli Rezai-Rashti and Sam Sellar, the sole authored Politics, Policies and Pedagogies in Education (Routledge, 2014), Changing Schools (Routledge,  2012), co-edited with Terry Wrigley and Pat Thomson, Globalizing Education Policy  co-authored with Fazal Rizvi (Routledge, 2010) and Educating Boys: Beyond Structural Reform (Palgrave, 2009), co-authored with Martin Mills and Wayne Martino. Bob has published widely in the sociology of education, is editor of the journal, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politic of Education and of the Routledge, New York book series, Key Ideas in Education. Bob’s research focuses on globalization and education policy, the education work of the OECD, data and accountability in education, and school reform and social justice.