Book Chapter

Network alliances: precarious governance through data, standards and code



Fenwick T & Edwards R (2014) Network alliances: precarious governance through data, standards and code. In: Fenwick T, Mangez E & Ozga J (eds.) World Yearbook of Education: Governing Knowledge: Comparison, Knowledge-based Technologies and Expertise in the Regulation of Education. World Yearbook of Education, 2014. London: Routledge, pp. 44-57.

First paragraph: We share the general concerns of this book about the ways in which education, alongside most other social services from health care to air travel and banking, is being managed through comparative technologies. These effectively translate complex knowledge processes and human relationships into data. Such translations render processes calculable, and enrol them into massive digital networks that track, sequence, assess, procure and direct most social activity in advanced societies. To better understand how these processes mobilize particular educational practices, we argue for the utility of network analysis following Bruno Latour (2005). While controversial, versions of actor-network theory are increasingly brought to bear in educational studies of governmentality and knowledge. These approaches tend to avoid the limitations inherent in explanations that rely upon dominant ‘paradigms' and political ideologies. They also deliberately decentre human actors, their meanings and politics. Instead, we argue for analysis that traces myriad negotiations among material devices, embodiments, and technologies with social desires and discourses. Through these sociomaterial vitalities, particular forms of knowledge become performed and stabilized.

Title of seriesWorld Yearbook of Education
Number in series2014
Publication date31/12/2014
Publisher URL
Place of publicationLondon

People (2)


Professor Richard Edwards
Professor Richard Edwards

Emeritus Professor, Education

Professor Tara Fenwick
Professor Tara Fenwick

Emeritus Professor, Education