Introduction: Researching the Global Education Industry

  • Christiane Thompson
  • Marcelo Parreira do Amaral


The introductory chapter provides an overview of the emerging Global Education Industry (GEI). Referring in an exemplary manner to the landscape of worldwide operating businesses and organizations, it introduces the readers to how the field of education and educational policy is being currently reshaped. This includes the changing role of the actors involved (states, NGOs, companies) as well as the shifts in their rationales and logics and modes of operating. After delineating the central concepts and issues related to the GEI phenomenon, the introduction presents the questions and challenges that result from these recent developments: not only for educational policy and practice but also for educational theory and research. This not only involves, for instance, the blurred line between business interest and modernization, but also pertains to the question as to whether current conceptual approaches are adequate to grasp the present-day developments. Here, the aim is to show how actors from the educational field will have to perform a change of perspective in order to fully explore the consequences that the GEI will have for the future(s) of education. Finally, the introduction provides a brief overview of the chapters of the book.



The research presented in this volume has profited from engaging discussions during the Symposium “Economization, Commodification, Digitalization: The Emergence of a Global Education Industry” held in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, in February 2017. We would like to thank the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany; the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Germany; the Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA; NORRAG, Geneva, Switzerland; as well as the Freunde und Foerderer of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, for their logistic and financial support. But principally, we want to thank the participants who provided pertinent insights and invaluable comments on the first drafts of the chapters. We thank in particular Frank-Olaf Radtke, Isabell Diehm, Johannes Bellmann, Thomas Höhne, Florian Waldow, Wivian Weller, and Sieglinde Jornitz. Thanks also go out to those who provided administrative support for the preparation of the symposium and for the preparation of the manuscripts, in particular Nicole Stelter, Tomoko Kojima, and Marvin Erfurth.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christiane Thompson
    • 1
  • Marcelo Parreira do Amaral
    • 2
  1. 1.Theory and History of EducationGoethe-University Frankfurt am MainFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Institute of EducationUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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