About this series
There are some signs that there are some very powerful forces at work reshaping advanced liberal societies – our normative orientations, our subjectivities and our institutions. These forces have been encapsulated in handy slogans such as “postmodernity”, “globalisation”, “reflexive modernisation”, “postindustialisation”, “postmodernisation” and the like. Many of these developments focus on the importance of changes to the organisation of knowledge, the development of new forms of communication, and the centrality of knowledge institutions to an emerging info-capitalism. Often these epithets are conceptualised in metaphors such as the “information society”, “learning society” or the “knowledge economy” and often work as official policy metanarratives to both prescribe and describe futures. Today the traditional liberal ideal of education is undergoing radical change. In short, as the knowledge functions have become even more important economically, external pressures and forces have seriously impinged upon its structural protections and traditional freedoms. Increasingly, the emphasis in reforming educational institutions has fallen upon two main issues: the resourcing of research and teaching, with a demand from central government to reduce unit costs while accommodating further expansion of the system, on the one hand; and changes in the nature of governance and enhanced accountability, on the other. In the attempt to re-position and structurally adjust their national economies to take advantage of the main global trends, governments around the world have begun to reprioritise the importance of education, and especially higher education, as an “industry” of the future. There is an emerging understanding of the way in which education is now central to economic (post)modernization and the key to competing successfully within the global economy. This understanding has emerged from the shifts that are purportedly taking place in the production and consumption of knowledge which are impacting on traditional knowledge institutions like universities. This series maps the emergent field of educational futures. It will commission books on the futures of education in relation to the question of globalisation and knowledge economy. It seeks authors who can demonstrate their understanding of discourses of the knowledge and learning economies. It aspires to build a consistent approach to educational futures in terms of traditional methods, including scenario planning and foresight, as well as imaginative narratives, and it will examine examples of futures research in education, pedagogical experiments, new utopian thinking, and educational policy futures with a strong accent on actual policies and examples.