© 2019

Reframing Education as a Public and Common Good

Enhancing Democratic Governance


  • Analyses the overarching principles that guide the governance of education

  • Argues that highlighting monetary aspects of education may undermine the role of the state and impact equality of opportunity

  • Asserts that considering education as a common good can lead to the strengthening of democratic and participatory approaches to educational governance


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Rita Locatelli
    Pages 1-14
  3. Rita Locatelli
    Pages 33-50
  4. Rita Locatelli
    Pages 117-147
  5. Rita Locatelli
    Pages 171-183
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 185-192

About this book


This book examines the normative principles that guide the governance of education, in particular the notion of education as a public good. Determining whether this concept is still valid is a topic of growing importance, especially considering the phenomena of increasing privatisation and marketisation in the sector. The author posits that the prioritisation of economic aspects of education may lead to the weakening of the role of the State in ensuring equality of opportunity and social justice, and thus to a significant risk of considering education as merely a private, marketable good. 

The volume argues that considering education as a common good can lead to the strengthening of democratic and participatory approaches to educational governance, based on the recognition of education as a shared endeavour and responsibility. It will be of interest and value to students and scholars of education as a public good, social justice, and the wider neoliberalisation of the education sector.


Education as a Public Good Education as a Common Good Education and the Community Education governance The concept of education Privatization of education Marketization of education Global education landscape

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.International Research Centre on Global Citizenship EducationUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

About the authors

Rita Locatelli is a postdoctoral research fellow at the International Research Centre on Global Citizenship Education at the University of Bologna, Italy. 

Bibliographic information


“This book is an engaging, stimulating read that addresses some of the fundamental challenges, both logistical and conceptual, to the realisation of democracy in education. Locatelli should be commended for wading through what is some very muddy discourse to present a conceptually rich, provocative and accessible text on the importance of rethinking education through a democratic imaginary.” (Andrew Wilkins, Journal of Education Policy, November 27, 2019)“Rita Locatelli has a brilliant understanding of education as a global common good. After the wreckage of society by market automata and the nativist assault on solidarity, our crucial task is to rebuild institutions based on community and recognition of our shared human and ecological destiny. The author brings education to the front of our thinking about civic democracy. Her book is also immensely readable. Strongly recommended!” (Professor Simon Marginson, University of Oxford, UK, and Director of the ESRC/OFSRE Centre for Global Higher Education)

“This book will become an essential resource for anyone interested in education governance. By drawing on a wide range of global examples, the author provides an in-depth and timely discussion around the idea of education as a public good.” (Rille Raaper, Durham University, UK)

“While much has been written on the growing global trend towards privatization, this book rightly situates a critique of that trend within a broader examination of the public and the common good. As is appropriate, confronting efforts to privatize education should be met with a consideration of the implications for the common good and, thankfully, Locatelli provides us with the necessary language, understanding, and global contextualization that is much needed towards those efforts.” (T. Jameson Brewer, University of North Georgia, USA)