Observing Transnational Education

Many of the institutions familiar to us, such as school instruction or democratic government, gained their centrality within the context of the modern nation-state. The hypothesis underpinning my doctoral dissertation claims that the form of these and other institutions inevitably shifts shape when the activities they seek to organize begin to unfold on a global scale instead. In light thereof, the dissertation presents a study on the increasing involvement of the European Union in an area that formally belongs to the competence of its member-states: education and training. The analysis thus situates the issue of European integration within the question regarding the globalisation of education.

The dissertation argued for understanding the Europeanisation of education as a means for growth by internal disjunction. That is: as an internal differentiation of a global education system, which surpasses the limits the former developed in reference to the nation-state, thus resettling and dramatically expanding the boundaries of what counts as meaningful education. On the basis of three articles, the dissertation addressesed this characterisation and examines its scope via a case study of Europe’s flagship initiative in the domain of education, Erasmus+. It advocated for understanding this reformed action programme as the catalyst for a distinct formalisation of education that strongly deviates from the so-called “grammar of schooling”. The study focused in particular on its organizational form of projects, whose specific understanding of the function of education is claimed to no longer equate with the appropriation of nationally defined cultural canons, nor with the embodiment of a mode of societal self-understanding, most famously expressed in the Durkheimian tradition as collective consciousness.

This doctoral research was funded by the Fonds Spéciaux de la Recherche (FSR) and the Concerted Action Research Programme (ARC) of the French Community of Belgium.