Paradigms of Education under the Network Society

This paper is argumentative in the sense that it supports a proposition, reflecting broader trends in the literature, while looking to anticipate its outworking in shaping the future. Drawing on Castell’s network theory, and making use of an analysis framed by institutional activity mapping and forms of critical discourse analysis, the paper explores the idea of global convergence, homogenisation and forms of isomorphism across institutional objectives in education. Forms of policy control such as dissemination, harmonisation, standardisation and agenda setting have accelerated and become more pervasive or possible in the networked society. Stripped to its essentials this paper concludes that no foreseeable termination or significant discontinuity can be anticipated in the short, medium and perhaps long-term future. In conceptualising the dominant discourse of education as programmed by the interplay of networks, their coordination and forms of network power, public education looks destined to become narrower and continuously refined in the service of the new capitalism.