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Lucas Cone

Soft privatisation: mapping an emerging field of European education governance

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This paper introduces the concept of ‘soft privatisation’. Departing from a review of the literature examining the growing participation of private sector actors in the provision of public education across Europe, the paper investigates how privatisation has emerged in the context of the European Union as a phenomenon embedded in, rather than a replacement of, public education. Through analysing the creation of a European education area–and the move of European education from being a driver for economic growth to becoming an Economy in itself–the paper argues that privatisation in Europe is deeply imbricated with the network modes of public education governance characteristic of the European Union and the Bologna Process. These entanglements have implications both for the transparency and political accountability of private sector actors involved in public education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Pages (from-to)374-390
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

    Research areas

  • commercialisation, EU, European education, public education, soft network governance, Soft privatisation

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