Globalization and Education: An Introduction

Nicholas C. Burbules

Carlos Alberto Torres

 

Published in Globalization and Education: Critical Perspectives

Nicholas Burbules and Carlos Torres, eds. (Routledge, 2000)

 

 

From Education in the Enlightenment to Globalized Education:

Preliminary Thoughts

All systems are false, that of Marx no less than Aristotle’s -- however much truth both may have seen.

This book brings together an outstanding group of international authors to discuss the topic of how globalization is affecting educational policy in nation-states around the world. The authors have quite different views of what "globalization" refers to. For some of these authors, it primarily means the emergence of supranational institutions whose decisions shape and constrain the policy options for any particular nation-state; for others it primarily means the overwhelming impact of global economic processes, including processes of production, consumption, trade, capital flow, and monetary interdependence; for others it primarily means the rise of neoliberalism as a hegemonic policy discourse; for others it primarily means the emergence of new global cultural forms, media, and technologies of communication, which shape the relations of affiliation, identity, and interaction within and across local cultural settings; for still others, "globalization" is primarily a perceived set of changes, a construction used by state policy makers to inspire support for and suppress opposition to changes because "greater forces" (global competition, responses to IMF or World Bank demands, obligations to regional alliances, and so on) leave the nation-state "no choice" but to play by a set of global rules not of its own making. And, of course, the authors cite the complex interplay of these various factors, with different weights and in different relations.

We asked each author to focus on a concept that we thought was central to understanding the particular impact of globalization on educational policy and practice: concepts that are being rethought and redefined in this (real or perceived) global context. These concepts include: "neoliberalism," "the state," "restructuring," "reform," "management," "feminism," "identity," "citizenship," "community," "multiculturalism," "new social movements," "popular culture," and the "local" (as opposed to/in relation to the "global"). Clearly, these reflect not only changing concepts, but changing relations, practices, and institutional arrangements. These terms recur in different chapters, from different perspectives and in different relations to one another. The focus of this book is how the rethinking of these key ideas suggests fundamental changes to the way societies are forming educational policy and practice. While it is primarily a work of theory, we see in these discussions specific and concrete implications for how education is changing, and will need to change, in response to these new circumstances. The work is critical to the extent that the authors refuse to accept the particular forms that globalization is taking as given, and ask skeptical questions about the winners and losers by this new set of rules. To the extent that "globalization" (conceived in a particular way) has become an ideological discourse driving change because of a perceived immediacy and necessity to respond to a new world order, we want to present a corrective to the enthusiasts of globalization and suggest that even as these changes occur, they can change in different, more equitable, and more just ways. In our view, educators in particular must acknowledge the force of these trends, and see their implications for shaping and constraining the choices available to educational policies and practices, while also resisting the rhetoric of "inevitability" that so often drives particular policy prescriptions.

One way to reexamine the apparent inevitability of globalization is to situate the contemporary debate in a historical framework. Something, indeed, does seem to be changing in the field of education, and these changes have been at work over a long period of time.

From the perspective of the Enlightenment, nothing could be more personalized, more intimate and local, than the educational process in which children and youth come to age in the context of acquiring and learning their family, regional, and national culture. Before the institution of public education, the education of the elite was carried out by tutors working with their pupils in a highly personalized manner. Education of the mind, of the capacities and talents of the individual, was a basic principle. In a different class context, for children of rural or working families, education or upbringing was also a personal affair, governed by families and local communities. Fitting into a community, whether a local or national culture and way of life, can be seen as the educational imperative cutting across these contexts.

Later, when schooling as a public institution took shape, this notion of local and familial responsibility for upbringing remained. The idea that schools acted in loco parentis, and the policy structures that supported community control over schooling, situated the learner in a relation to immediate and familiar learning needs: needs of identity, affiliation, citizenship, and work roles that responded to a context that was already close at hand. Even in more centralized, nationalized public school systems the same dynamic can be seen at work, simply invoked at a different level: policies enforce conformity and identification with a national tradition, a larger community, a broader context of citizenship and work responsibility, but still one in which the conditions of affiliation are based on relative proximity and homogeneity (although here fissures between the local and the national can -- and still do -- crack open).

The implications of this educational process, especially as it becomes a public concern, go well beyond the aim of developing the individual self. As the economics of education tell us, the education of the public has costs and benefits for the society at large and therefore is not only an expenditure but an investment as well. Thus, the political implications of education surpass the conditions of an individual to be educated, and constitute a strategic set of decisions that affect society at large -- hence the importance of education as public policy, and the role of the state (see Raymond Morrow and Carlos Torres, in this volume).

This dialectical process of forming the individual as a self and as a member of a larger community implies, as a premise in the Western tradition, the need to preserve the treasures of the civilization within the process of socializing the members of each new generation. This becomes even more of an imperative as the nation-state becomes the site, surrounded by borders, in which the pedagogical process is governed. Organized systems of education operate under the aegis of a nation-state that controls, regulates, coordinates, mandates, finances, and certifies the process of teaching and learning. Not surprisingly, a principal purpose of the educational system so designed is to create a loyal and competent citizen.

The question we are facing now is, To what extent is the educational endeavor affected by processes of globalization that are threatening the autonomy of national educational systems and the sovereignty of the nation-state as the ultimate ruler in democratic societies? At the same time, how is globalization changing the fundamental conditions of an educational system premised on fitting into a community, a community characterized by proximity and familiarity? The origins, nature, and dynamics of the process of globalization are, therefore, a focus for concern of educational philosophers, sociologists, curriculum workers, teachers, policy makers, politicians, parents, and many others involved with the educational endeavor. The processes of globalization, however defined, seem to have serious consequences for transforming teaching and learning, as they have been understood within the context of educational practices and public policies that are highly national in character.

Many further questions recur in such reflections. How can globalization be defined? Is globalization "real" or merely an ideology? If globalization is an inexorable trend, how does this affect the political economy of countries, and in turn, their culture and education? How are moves toward economic restructuring affecting educational systems worldwide? Is there an international educational organization, and agenda, that could create a new hegemony in curriculum, instruction, and pedagogical practices in general, as well as in policies concerning school financing, research, and evaluation? Are these factors and outcomes symmetrical or homogeneous in their implications for all countries and regions? How does globalization relate to the ongoing process of political struggle in different societies? These are some of the central questions that the authors in this book have undertaken to answer.

Economic Restructuring and the Trend Toward Globalization

In order to capture the gist of social action, we must recognize the ontological complicity, as Heidegger and Merleu-Ponty suggested, between the agent (who is neither a subject or a consciousness, nor the mere executant of a role or the carrier of a function) and the social world (which is never a mere "thing" even if it must be constructed as such in the objectivist phase of research). Social reality exists, so to speak, twice, in things and in minds, in fields and in habitus, outside and inside of agents. And when habitus encounters a social world of which it is the product, it finds itself "as a fish in water," it does not feel the weight of the water and takes the world about itself for granted.

The patterns of global economic restructuring, which emerged in the late seventies, went hand in hand with the implementation of neoliberal policies in many nations. At that time, capitalist management was caught in a profit squeeze, with labor fighting to keep wages high, and foreign competitors pressing them to keep prices down. As the economy slowed, state revenues failed to keep pace with social expenditures, and taxpayers began to express resentment toward those who benefited the most from state revenues (the state bureaucracy, welfare recipients, institutions receiving state subsidies, and so on.). This led to a breakdown of consensus around the viability and value of the welfare state. The state withdrew from its role as an arbiter between labor and capital, allying itself with capital, and pushing labor into a defensive position.

Economic restructuring reflected a world trend characterized by at least the following elements:

(1) the globalization of the economy in the context of a new international division of labor and economic integration of national economies (such as emerging common markets and trade agreements);

(2) the emergence of new exchange relations and arrangements among nations, and among classes and social sectors within each country, and the emergence of new areas, especially in developed countries, where information and services were becoming more important than manufacturing;

(3) the increasing internationalization of trade, reflected in the increasing capacity to connect markets on an immediate basis and to move capital across national frontiers (currently, 600 major multinational corporations (MNCs) control 25% of the world economy and 80% of world trade);

(4) the restructuring of the labor market, with the hourly wage being replaced in many settings by piece-work remuneration, and the power of unions undermined by a relaxation or non-enforcement of labor legislation;

(5) the decrease in capital-labor conflict, mainly due to such factors as the increase of surplus workers (unemployed or underemployed), the intensification of competition and the decrease of profit margins, less protective labor contracts, and the institutionalization of "team concept" strategies;

(6) the shift from a rigid Fordist model of production to a model based upon increased flexibility in the use of the labor force, inventories, labor processes, and labor markets, and upon the declining costs and increasing speed of moving products and information from one location of the globe to another;

(7) the rise of new forces of production, with industry shifting from an industrial-mechanical model to one governed by the microchip, robotics, and automatic, self-regulating machines, which in turn has led to the emergence of a high-tech information society based on the computer;

(8) the growing importance of capital-intensive production, which results in the deskilling or redundancy of large sections of the workforce, a situation that leads to a polarized labor market composed of a small, highly skilled, and well-paid sector on the one hand, and a large, low-skilled, and low-paid sector on the other;

(9) the increase in the proportion of part-time and female workers, many of them now working out of their homes;

(10) the increase in the size and importance of the service sector, at the expense of primary and secondary ones; and

(11) the ever-increasing financial, technological, and cultural gap between more-developed and less-developed countries, with the only exception being the "newly industrialized countries" (NICs).

Economic restructuring also has reflected a deep fiscal crisis and budget reductions affecting the public sector, resulting in the reduction of the welfare state and increased privatization of social services, health, housing, and education. There has been a restructuring of the state/worker relationship in such a way that the social salary (public expenditure distributed in the form of social benefits) diminishes at the expense of individual salaries. As a result of this, society has been segmented into two sectors: one protected or included by the state, and the other unprotected and excluded. Economic restructuring has led to a model of exclusion that leaves out large sectors of the population, particularly women living in poverty in developed and developing countries.

These elements of economic restructuring have been concomitant with the trend toward globalization. Contrary to Marx and Engels’ prediction, the globalization of the economy has produced a unification of capital on a world scale, while workers and other subordinate groups have become more fragmented and divided. In fact, neoliberal restructuring is operating through the impersonal dynamic of capitalist competition in a progressively deregulated common market, enhancing the local impact of global trends. Nation-states have become increasingly internationalized, in the sense that their agencies and policies become adjusted to the rhythms of the new world order.

As we have pointed out, economic restructuring has led to an increasing proletarianization and deskilling of jobs. Although high technology is presented as the solution to many economic problems, it has not contributed to raising the standard of living of most people. Even if some jobs are being created in high-tech industries, these jobs are mostly in clerical and assembly work, which pay below-average wages and do not require high skills, or in personal services jobs. Not surprisingly, the most important category of job creation in the United States in the last decade has been in the realm of personal services, including job categories as varied as physical and health trainers to private security services.

Another evident change is that, with the implementation of neoliberal policies, the state has withdrawn from its responsibility to administer public resources to promote social justice. This is being replaced by a blind faith in the market (for example, in calls for increased school privatization, "choice," and vouchers) and the hope that economic growth will generate a spillover to help the poor, or that private charity will pick up what state programs leave out. Despite calls from the Right to dismantle or reduce the size of the state, skeptical observers of state reduction argue that the main issue is not the state’s size, or its expenditures, but the type of its interventions and investments, whether promoting welfare and equality on the one hand, or subsidizing corporate growth, through tax incentives or through the rubric of "military spending" on the other. The neoliberal state, particularly in the more developed societies, and in the developing countries striving to emulate them, is characterized by drastic cutbacks in social spending, rampant environmental destruction, regressive revisions of the tax system, loosened constraints on corporate growth, widespread attacks on organized labor, and increased spending on military "infrastructure."

Corporations are becoming so powerful that many are creating their own postsecondary and vocational education programs. Burger King has opened "Academies" in fourteen U.S. cities, and IBM and Apple are contemplating the idea of opening schools for profit. Whittle Communications (a corporation largely owned by Time Warner and the British Associated Newspapers) not only provides satellite dishes and TV sets in exchange for advertisement to more than 10,000 schools (the "Channel One" project), but is planning to open 1,000 profit-making schools serving two million children within the next ten years. Moreover, U.S. corporations are spending upwards of $40 billion each year, approaching the total annual expenditures of all America’s four-year and graduate colleges and universities, to train and educate their current employees. Even as early as the mid-eighties, Bell and Howell had 30,000 students in its postsecondary network, and ITT had 25 postsecondary proprietary institutions. It has been reported that AT&T alone performs more education and training functions than any university in the world.

This process of privatizing education is occurring in the context of new relations and arrangements among nations, characterized by a new global division of labor, an economic integration of national economies (common markets, free trade, and so forth), the increasing concentration of power in supranational organizations (such as the World Bank, IMF, UN, EU, and G-7), and what we have called the "internationalization" of nation-states.

The mobility of capital gives capitalists, particularly financial speculators, a great deal of leverage over the nation-state, itself a product of the industrial revolution, and one unequipped in many ways to cope with the basic demands of the postindustrial world. Speculation in national currencies and the self-fulfilling prophecy of international "credit" legitimacy have contributed to an ever-shifting terrain for countries attempting to get their economic houses in order. The days leading up to the preparation of this book have seen serious currency crises in Russia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and other emerging Asian economies which suddenly found the rules of the global economic game changing even as they were trying to play by them.

As argued by Korten, corporate influence over the nation-state is exercised indirectly, through intellectual leadership, instilling in policy makers a new set of values and setting limits on the nation-state’s range of options, which is a more effective strategy in changing policy priorities than the explicit threat of punitive sanctions. These new values, aptly reflected in the neoconservative and neoliberal agendas (see Michael W. Apple, in this volume), promote less state intervention and greater reliance on the free market, and more appeal to individual self-interest than to collective rights. Held claims that "the internationalization of production, finance and other economic resources is unquestionably eroding the capacity of any individual state to control its own economic future...multinational corporations may have a clear national base, but their interest is above all in global profitability. Country of origin is of little consequence for corporate strategy." Clearly, the growing integration of the economy is pushing toward a borderless world, and provides considerable evidence for the reduced ability of national governments to control their own economies or to define their own national economic aims.

In summary, there are changes at the economic, political, and cultural levels of society that tend to promote and reinforce a more global perspective on social policy. At an economic level, these factors include changes in trade relations (groups such as GATT, or G-7, that promote the reduction of import taxes, tariffs, and regulations; and the formation of "free trade" regions such as NAFTA or the E.U.); changes in banking and credit processes (world credit systems such as Visa, ATM’s, currency exchange, and capital flow and financial markets that are truly globalized); the presence of international lending agencies (such as the IMF and World Bank); changes in the factors of production that have led to the rise of new "Post-Fordist" industries (the knowledge economy, the service sector, tourism, and culture industries); the presence of global corporations not tied to (or loyal to) any national base or boundary; the mobility of labor and the mobility of companies, which have thrown labor unions on the defensive; new technologies (for the transmission of data, capital, and advertising); and new patterns of consumption (sometimes termed the "McDonaldization" of taste -- fast, standardized, and oriented to convenience over quality), along with new advertising and marketing strategies that promote what George Ritzer calls the "means of consumption" (shopping malls, television buying channels, on-line purchasing, and easy credit).

At the political level, the nation-state survives as a medial institution, far from powerless, but constrained by trying to balance four imperatives: (1) responses to transnational capital; (2) responses to global political structures (for example, the United Nations) and other nongovernmental organizations; (3) responses to domestic pressures and demands, in order to maintain its own political legitimacy; and (4) responses to its own internal needs and self-interests. Most policy initiatives, including educational policies, are formed in the matrix of these four pressures, centered on the nation-state conceived no longer as a sovereign agent, but as an arbiter attempting to balance a range of internal and external pressures and constraints. Economic factors, such as external debt, the fiscal crisis of the state, or the creation of regional entities such as the European Union are having profound political-economic implications. In this context, the pressures on the nation-state have sharpened a long-standing question of political theory: Is the state a pluralist sphere for the contest of competing interest groups, or is it a non-neutral terrain, reflecting a set of constraints and preoccupations that give special weight to the demands of specific social interests? It is clear to us that there has been a pronounced shift in the terms of such a question, moving beyond purely statist views of politics to include a focus on new terrains of political contestation, new political actors, such as global social movements (what Falk calls "globalization from below"), and the constitution of what are, in effect, transnational civil societies (see Douglas Kellner, in this volume).

Finally, in cultural terms, changes in global media (cable, satellite, CNN, the Internet); commercial culture (McDonalds, Nike, the colors of Benneton); increased mobility, with vastly enlarged travel and tourism sectors; changes in communications technologies; worldwide distribution of film, television, and music products; an increased presence and visibility of global religions that change local rituals into transnational ones; or the global world of sports, both in terms of competitive events (and spectacles) like the Olympics or World Cup, but also, and non-trivially, in terms of sports marketing (apparel, footwear, equipment), sponsorhip/advertising, and global betting and gambling, all show the challenges that confront societies attempting to reconcile their own local and traditional values with the growing globalization of cultures not of their making.

These undeniable changes notwithstanding, however, the effects of globalization are also sometimes exaggerated. Any good observer or world traveler will have noticed that the so-called process of globalization is not so global. Vast segments of the world are almost untouched by many of these globalization dynamics. What we are seeing is a segmentation (worldwide) between a globalized culture -- for instance, the prevalence of an urban, cosmopolitan habitus -- and the rest of the world, which sees few of the benefits (to the extent that there are such) of access to the global market or to cosmopolitan cultures. Likewise, as noted previously, the assertion of something called "globalization" is often used to reinforce its "inevitability" and so to suppress attempts to resist it. Many attempts to counteract globalization processes are well in place around the world, as in the fields of ecology and resource management, for example.

Critical Issues

Knowledge does not itself conquer uncertainty but produces uncertainties that no one has had any historical experience in dealing with before.

Although the overall shape and direction of the changes just noted are hardly matters of dispute any longer, there still remain significant disagreements about the nature and extent of this thing called "globalization." The more that we know about it, the greater the uncertainties about the consequences it brings with it. These questions become even more challenging as we attempt to move from the kind of macro-level level changes we have been surveying to specific areas of policy and practice such as education. We have grouped together here several critical issues which, as Giddens reminds us, reflect the new uncertainties that discussions of globalization have brought to light. They serve here to introduce several central themes that will be taken up by the various chapters in this book.

What are the Origins of Globalization?

Theoretically, a central dilemma is whether to place the origins of contemporary globalization around 1971-73, with the petroleum crisis that prompted several important technological and economic changes directed toward finding replacement sources for strategic raw materials and searching for new forms of production that would consume less energy and labor. Alternatively, one may, as some authors in this book have done, pinpoint the origins of globalization more than a century ago with changes in communication technologies, migration patterns, and capital flows (for instance, as these affected the process of colonization in the Third World).

An important question for many observers is whether we are facing a new historical epoch, the configuration of a new world system, or whether these changes are significant but not unprecedented, paralleled for example by similar changes in the late Middle Ages. But in our view this issue is not a matter of either/or. We are in a new historical epoch, a new global order in which the old forms are not dead but the new forms are not yet fully formed. Held has suggested in his Democracy and Global Order, for instance, that we are in a new "global Middle Ages," a period reflecting that while the nation-states still have vitality, they cannot control their borders and therefore are subject to all sorts of internal and external pressures.

Furthermore, even if this new global order shows the end of the sovereignty of the nation-state, this situation nevertheless has differential impacts on states according to their position in the world order: states unified in regional alliances, such as NAFTA or the E.U.; emerging or intermediate states, such as Brazil, Korea, India, and China; less developed states, such as Argentina, Hungary, Chile, and South Africa; developing states, including many in Latin America, Asia, and Africa; and underdeveloped states mired in an extreme state of dependency, such as Haiti, some Central American states, Mozambique, Angola, and Albania. Not only is the meaning and impact of "globalization" unsettled, it may operate differently in different parts of the world, and in some contexts have little impact at all. Here, again, globalization is not itself a unified, global phenomenon.

Hence while globalization may reflect a set of very definite technological, economic, and cultural changes, the shape of its significance and its future trends are far from determined. As we have just noted, the historical specificity of this process does not necessarily guarantee a symmetrical or homogeneous impact worldwide. This account of globalization is quite different from the neoliberal account, a discourse about progress and a rising tide that lifts all boats, a discourse that takes advantage of the historical processes of globalization in order to valorize particular economic prescriptions about how to operate the economy (through free trade, deregulation, and so on) -- and by implication, prescriptions about how to transform education, politics, and culture.

Beyond Dichotomous Accounts of Globalization

Certain dualities recur in the literature on this subject. In one widely influential distinction, there are two primary forces at work in the rise of globalization: globalization from above, a process that primarily affects the elites within and across national contexts, and globalization from below, a popular process that primarily draws from the rank-and-file in civil society. This contrast highlights an important political dynamic (and it makes for a handy, hopeful picture of struggle and resistance on a world scale) but its widespread use obscures the ways in which these two trends are not entirely independent of one another. For example, the groups from "above" and "below" tend to merge in certain nongovernmental organizations; and the popular movements "from below" may still be perceived in certain local contexts as an imposition "from above."

Still other dualities prevail: of tensions between the global and the local; between economic and cultural dimensions of globalization; between globalization viewed as a trend toward homogenization around Western (or, even more narrowly, around American) norms and culture, and globalization viewed as an era of increased contact between diverse cultures, leading to an increase in hybridization and novelty; and between the material and rhetorical effects of globalization -- or, as it might be put, between globalization and "globalization." Finally, there is the distinction about whether globalization is a "good thing" or not: Is globalization beneficial to the cause of economic growth, equality, and justice, or is it harmful? Does it promote cultural sharing, tolerance, and a cosmopolitan spirit, or does it yield only the illusion of such understanding, a bland, consumerist appreciation, as in a Disney theme park, which elides issues of conflict, difference, and asymmetries of power?

For us, none of these either/ors captures the subtlety or difficulty of the issues at stake. Each replicates an easy choice between polar alternatives, "good" and "bad" kinds of globalization, rather than a conflicted situation of sustained tensions and difficult choices. A reconsideration of, and in many cases a direct challenge to, these sorts of easy dichotomies will recur throughout this book. It is, in our view, central to understanding globalization in all its complexity and ambiguity.

What are the Crucial Characteristics of Globalization?

In light of these many debates, it could be extremely risky to advance a description of the characteristics of globalization that most closely affect education, but these seem to include, at the very least:

• in economic terms, a transition from Fordist to Post-Fordist forms of workplace organization; a rise in internationalized advertising and consumption patterns; a reduction in barriers to the free flow of goods, workers, and investments across national borders; and, correspondingly, new pressures on the roles of worker and consumer in society;

• in political terms, a certain loss of nation-state sovereignty, or at least the erosion of national autonomy; and, correspondingly, a weakening of the notion of the "citizen" as a unified and unifying concept, a concept that can be characterized by precise roles, rights, obligations, and status (see Capella, in this volume);

• in cultural terms, a tension between the ways in which globalization brings forth more standardization and cultural homogeneity, while also bringing more fragmentation through the rise of locally oriented movements. Benjamin Barber characterized this dichotomy in the title of his book, Jihad vs. McWorld; however, a third theoretical alternative identifies a more conflicted and dialectical situation, with both cultural homogeneity and cultural heterogeneity appearing simultaneously in the cultural landscape. (Sometimes this merger, and dialectical tension, between the global and the local is termed "the glocal.")

Globalization and the State-Education Relationship

In educational terms, there is a growing understanding that the neoliberal version of globalization, particularly as implemented (and ideologically defended) by bilateral, multilateral, and international organizations, is reflected in an educational agenda that privileges, if not directly imposes, particular policies for evaluation, financing, assessment, standards, teacher training, curriculum, instruction, and testing. In the face of such pressures, more study is needed about local responses to defend public education against the introduction of pure market mechanisms to regulate educational exchanges and other policies that seek to reduce state sponsorship and financing and to impose management and efficiency models borrowed from the business sector as a framework for educational decisionmaking. These educational responses are mostly carried out by teacher unions, new social movements, and critical intellectuals, often expressed as opposition to initiatives in education such as vouchers or subsidizing private and parochial schools.

This poses a peculiar problem for analysis. Because the relationships between state and education vary so dramatically according to historical epochs, geographical areas, modes of governance, and forms of political representation, and between the differential demands of varied educational levels (elementary, secondary, higher education, adult, continuing, and nonformal education), any drastic alteration of modes of governance (for instance, the installation of a military dictatorship that may rule for several years before yielding back to democracy), can have multiple, complex, and unpredictable effects on education. This situation calls for a more nuanced historical analysis of the state-education relationship. This problematic is made more difficult by the trend we have discussed above: the erosion in the autonomy of the nation-state in all matters, including educational policy matters.

For example, let us consider briefly the situation in Latin America. From the moment in which civil wars were ended, more than a century and a half ago (culminating in the process of national organization in the 1880’s), educational systems were created alongside the establishment of borders for countries. The constitution of the nation-states included the creation of strong armies and the promulgation of National Constitutions based on principles drawing from the British Magna Carta, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution, and therefore expressing a strongly liberal underpinning. Thus, at least three primary state formations predominated in the Latin American experience over the last century and a half. (The exceptions to this trend have been, of course, periods of military intervention, military dictatorship, and revolution, all of which alter the liberal-democratic state form.) These three forms of the state include the liberal state promoting liberal education (say, from the 1880s until the crisis of 1929 in some countries, or until around the Second World War in most countries); the developmentalist state (around the 1950s until the 1980s), in which there is a consistent pattern of modernization (though sometimes "forced" modernization through authoritarian regimes), with a central role played by educational reforms based on the human capital model; and the constitution of different forms of the neoliberal state and neoliberal educational policy.

In short, from a historical perspective, this complex connection between education and the state poses a problem for the analysis of the state-education relationship. There is no single way in which these institutions are associated, and so no single way in which they will be affected by the conditions of globalization. Economically, the pressures of externally imposed austerity conditions (for example, as a condition of IMF loans) may lead to savage reductions in expenditures on education; in other contexts, the desire for increased economic competitiveness and productivity may lead to increased expenditures on education. Politically, some national contexts will organize education around a revitalized conception of nationalism and citizen loyalty (perhaps in reaction to tribal or other fractious loyalties); in other contexts, a notion of cosmopolitan citizenship may prevail, one encouraging travel, foreign language study, and multicultural tolerance. Culturally, some nations will accept, even encourage, an increased reliance on the media, popular culture, or new communication and information technology, as a window through which to understand one’s place in a global world; in other contexts these same trends will give rise to an increase in insularism, suspicion, and resistance to external influences. A book such as this can only begin the process of exploring the diversity of such responses to globalization, across varied national contexts, and the diversity of state-education relationships that generate educational principles, policies, and practices in light of these new conditions.

The Dilemmas of Globalization

Is globalization merely deleterious, or are there positive features associated with its practices and dynamics? We have already tried to challenge such an easy frame of judgment. Two features that might be termed "positive" are the globalization of democracy or, at least, a peculiar form of liberal democracy (more a democracy of method than a democracy of content); and the prevalence and expansion of a belief in "human rights" and the growth of organizations attempting to monitor and protect them. For those fortunate enough to be living in certain sectors of society, globalization is associated with a higher standard of living, not only in the availability of consumer goods, but in occasions for travel and for enriching contact with other world cultures.

The most obvious "evils" of globalization are structural unemployment, the erosion of organized labor as a political and economic force, social exclusion, and an increase in the gap between rich and poor within nations and, especially, worldwide. Some people associate globalization with an increase in urban insecurity due to growing urban violence; with the growing presence of extra-territorial, extra-state movements that thwart international development and may pose serious threats to security, peace, stability, and development (such as drug trafficking, mafias, merchants of weapons of mass destruction, or terrorist organizations).

But is it possible to sort out the benefits from the evils? Indeed, are "benefits" from one standpoint "evils" from the standpoint of others? In one sense, the framework of such judgments needs to be not simply a matter of whether globalization is "really happening" or not, but of globalization in what respects and on whose terms? A number of developing countries, such as China or Malaysia, have become increasingly suspicious of globalization and have tried to find ways to constrain its effects on their national way of life. Yet, at the same time they desire some of the benefits of participation in a global economy and exchange of goods and information. A major question today is the extent to which societies will be able to pick and choose the ways in which, and the degree to which, they can participate in a global world; or whether, as with other Faustian bargains, there is no halfway alternative.

Similarly, both below and beyond the national level, there are clearly regional and traditional movements for whom globalization is something to be resisted vigorously. The rise of some new social movements and the role of local and international nongovernmental organizations exert an influence that may be termed "counterglobalization." In some instances these groups are equally "global" in character (international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International; environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace; or labor organizations such as the ILO). In other cases they are anti-globalization, profoundly resistant to the economic, political, and cultural interpenetration of different societies and cultures (for example, regionalist and fundamentalist groups of various types). While globalization is clearly happening, its form and shape are being determined by patterns of resistance, some with more progressive intentions than others.

Is it possible, then, to give general answers to the question of how globalization is affecting educational policy and practice worldwide? As indicated by our earlier discussion, we believe that there can be no single answer; national and local economic, political, and cultural changes are affected by, and actively responding to, globalizing trends within a broad range of patterns. Indeed, because education is one of the central arenas in which these adaptations and responses occur, it will be one of the most myriad of institutional contexts. Hence, the answers developed will require a careful analysis of trends in education, including:

• the currently popular policy "buzz words" (privatization, choice, and decentralization of educational systems) that drive policy formation in education and prevailing research agendas based in rational organization and management theories (see Michael Peters, James Marshall, and Patrick Fitzsimons, in this volume);

• the role of national and international organizations in education, including teacher unions, parent organizations, and social movements (see Bob Lingard, in this volume);

• the new scholarship on race, class, gender, and the state in education (and hence concerns about multiculturalism and the question of identity in education, critical race theory, feminism, postcolonialism, diasporic communities, and new social movements -- see Jill Blackmore; Douglas Kellner; Allan Luke and Carmen Luke; Cameron McCarthy and Greg Dimitriades; Fazal Rizvi; and Stephen Stoer and Luiza Cortesão; all in this volume).

Questions about the role of participatory action research, popular education, and multicultural democratic struggle emerge as central in these debates. From these critical perspectives might emerge new educational models to confront the winds of change, including education in the context of new popular cultures and nontraditional social movements (and hence the role of cultural studies to understand them); new models of rural education for marginalized areas and the education of the poor; new models for migrant education, for the education of street children, for the education of girls and women in general, but particularly in the context of traditional societies and cultures that have suppressed women’s educational aspirations; new models of partnerships for education (between state, NGO, third sector, and in some instances religious or private organizations); new models for adult literacy and nonformal education; new models of university/business relationships; and new models for educational financing and school organization (for instance, charter schools).

Some reform initiatives have been actively supported by UNESCO and other UN agencies. These include, for instance, reforms toward universal literacy and universal access to education; educational quality as a key component of equity; education as lifelong education; education as a human right; education for peace, tolerance, and democracy; eco-pedagogy, or how education can contribute to sustainable ecological development (and hence to an eco-economy); and educational access and new technologies of information and communication (see Nicholas C. Burbules, in this volume). Thus, the influence of globalization upon educational policies and practices can be seen to have multiple, and conflicting, effects. Not all of these can be classified simply as beneficial or not, and some are being shaped by active tensions and struggles. The essays in this book illuminate such dilemmas in all their complexity.

Conclusion: Dilemmas of a Globalized Education System

We hope by now that the main purposes of this book have become clear: first, to identify, characterize, and clarify some of the debates surrounding the phenomenon of globalization; and second, to try to understand some of the multiple and complex effects of globalization on educational policy and policy formation. In summarizing some of the consequences of globalization for educational policy, we will follow the previous organization divided into three parts: tracing some of the economic impacts, the political impacts, and the cultural impacts.

At the economic level, because globalization is affecting employment it touches upon one of the primary traditional goals of education, preparation for work. Schools will need to reconsider this mission in light of changing job markets in a Post-Fordist work environment; new skills and the flexibility to adapt to changing job demands and, for that matter, changing jobs over a lifetime; and dealing with an increasingly competitive international labor pool. Yet, schools are not only concerned with preparing students as producers; increasingly, schools help shape consumer attitudes and practices as well, as encouraged by the corporate sponsorship of educational institutions and of products, both curricular and extracurricular, that confront students every day in their classrooms. This increasing commercialization of the school environment has become remarkably bold and explicit in its intentions (as in the case of Chris Whittle’s project, Channel One, discussed previously, which admits quite openly that it offers schools free televisions so as to expose children to a force-fed diet of commercials in their classrooms every day).

The broader economic effects of globalization tend to force national educational policies into a neoliberal framework that emphasizes lower taxes; shrinking the state sector and "doing more with less"; promoting market approaches to school choice (particularly vouchers); rational management of school organizations; performance assessment (testing); and deregulation in order to encourage new providers (including online providers) of educational services.

At the political level, a repeated point here has been the constraint on national/state policy making posed by external demands from transnational institutions. Yet, at the same time that economic coordination and exchange have become increasingly well-regulated, and as stronger institutions emerge to regulate global economic activity, with globalization there has also been a growing internationalization of global conflict, crime, terrorism, and environmental issues, but with an inadequate development of political institutions to address them. Here, again, educational institutions may have a crucial role to play in addressing these problems, and the complex network of intended and unintended human consequences that have followed from the growth of global corporations, global mobility, global communication, and global expansion. In part, this awareness may help to foster a more critical conception of what education for "world citizenship" requires.

Finally, global changes in culture deeply affect educational policies, practices, and institutions. Particularly in advanced industrial societies, for instance, the question of "multiculturalism" takes on a special meaning in a global context. How does the discourse of liberal pluralism, which has been the dominant framework for multicultural education in developed societies -- to learn about different others as a way of living with them and coordinating social activity with them within a compact of mutual tolerance and respect -- extend to a global order in which the gulf of differences becomes wider, the sense of interdependence and common interest more attenuated, and the grounding of affiliation more abstract and indirect (if it exists at all)? With the growing global pressures on local cultures, is it education’s job to help preserve them? How should education prepare students to deal with the terms of local, regional, national, and transnational conflict, as cultures and traditions whose histories of antagonism may have been held partly in suspension by strong, overarching nation-states break loose as those institutions lose some of their power and legitimacy? To the degree that education can help support the evolving construction of the self and, at a more general level, the constitution of identities, how can multiculturalism as a social movement, as citizenship education, and as an antiracist philosophy in curriculum intervene in the dynamics of social conflict emerging between global transformations and local responses?

In this context, for example, current debates over bilingualism in the United States are surprisingly limited both in their theoretical content and their political foresight. From a theoretical perspective, it really makes no sense to argue against the teaching and learning of multiple languages; if anything, students need to develop even more proficiency than just bilingualism. The European experience with youth who are proficient in several languages finds that such skills facilitate interpersonal, academic, and social communication, expand intellectual horizons, and encourage appreciation and tolerance for different cultures.

In this and other respects, the global context presents a fundamentally different sort of challenge to education than in the Enlightenment framework. Whereas previously education was more focused on the needs and development of the individual, with an eye toward helping the person fit into a community defined by relative proximity, homogeneity, and familiarity, education for life in a global world broadens the outlines of "community" beyond the family, the region, or the nation. Today the communities of potential affiliation are multiple, dislocated, provisional, and ever-changing. Family, work, and citizenship, the main sources of identification in Enlightenment education, remain important, certainly, but are becoming more ephemeral, compromised by mobility (whether voluntary or diasporic) and competition with other sources of affiliation, including the full range of what can be termed, in Benedict Anderson’s phrase, "imagined communities." Whereas schools or (before that) tutors acted in loco parentis, preparing learners for a relatively predictable range of future opportunities and challenges, schools today confront a series of conflicting, and changing, ad hoc expectations, directed to unpredictable alternative paths of development and to constantly shifting reference points of identification. As a result, educational aims that have more to do with flexibility and adaptability (for instance, in responding to rapidly changing work demands and opportunities), with learning how to coexist with others in diverse (and hence often conflict-riven) public spaces, and with helping to form and support a sense of identity that can remain viable within multiple contexts of affiliation, all emerge as new imperatives.

In closing, we believe that how such new educational imperatives get worked out in particular national and cultural settings depends upon two overarching sets of issues. The first is whether, given the decreasing role and influence of the nation-state in unilaterally determining domestic policies, and given the fiscal crisis of public revenues in most societies, there will be a corresponding decline in the state’s commitment to educational opportunity and equality, or whether there will simply be a greater turn toward the market, privatization, and choice models that regard the public as consumers who will only obtain the education they can afford. More broadly, will these changes produce an overall decline in the civic commitment to public education itself?

The second key issue is whether the troubles that educational systems experience today, which are not all related to the processes of globalization, signal a more deeply felt and decisive dilemma in developed and developing societies: the question of governability in the face of increasing diversity (and an increased awareness of diversity); permeable borders and an explosion in worldwide mobility; and media and technology that create wholly new conditions shaping affiliation and identification. What is the role of education in helping to shape the attitudes, values, and understandings of a multicultural democratic citizen who can be part of this increasingly cosmopolitan world?

At least some of the manifestations of globalization as a historical process are here to stay. Even if the particular form of "globalization" presented by the neoliberal account can be regarded as an ideology that serves to justify policies serving particular interests but not others, the fact is that part of this account is based in real changes (and to be fair, real opportunities, at least for certain fortunate people). The particular ways in which people talk about globalization today may end up being a passing fad. But as the chapters in this book make clear, at a deeper level something is changing in the areas of economy, politics, and culture that will fundamentally alter the terrain of public and private life. Public education today is at a crossroads. It can carry on as usual, as if none of these threats (and opportunities) existed, with the risk of becoming increasingly superseded by educational influences that are no longer accountable to public governance and control. In our view, nothing less is at stake today than the survival of the democratic form of governance and the role of public education in that enterprise.