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The Nature of Knowledge Production – Editing The International Encyclopedia of Education 1984 and 1995
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8173-7474
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Encyclopedias often claim to be collections of facts. Facts are usually perceived as naturally given or 'unconstructed by anyone' (Latour & Woolgar 1979/1986). But producing an encyclopaedia is not an independent and objective editorial process. By choosing, which also is socially and institutionally embedded, topics and authors and by structuring i.e. the whole compilation along sections the encyclopaedia is not only formally shaped. By doing so the conditions are put together which influence in various ways the social process of the encyclopaedia’s formation and therefore the social construction of knowledge. The editorial process underlies constant changes and is very much influenced by its editors’ perspective. But in order to maintain the illusion of objectivity facts are presented as given and unbiased, a ‘god trick’ as Haraway (1988: 581) puts it. 

Taking this into account helps to deconstruct the myth of naturally given objectivity and the traditional centrality of the male scientist’s perspective (central critique of feminist theory - overview i.e. in Crasnow et al. 2018). Torsten Husén (1916-2009), one of the two editors-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of International Education (IEE) (1984, 1995) and one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement(IEA),can be seen as an important influential male perspective of international relevance in the field of education in the 20thcentury.

In his archive regarding the IEE we encountered Barbara Barrett. As the publisher’s managing editor she plays an important role in the production of both IEE editions. By not being part of the list of references, which are essential support of knowledge claims in academia (Latour 1987), she seems to be a forgotten female knowledge worker in the field of comparative education.  Theoretically based on the ‘practice turn’ within the sociology of knowledge (Camic, Gross & Lamont 2011) this paper aims - by using the IEE as an example - on the one hand to show how facts are socially constructed. On the other hand it attempts to emphasize the role of female knowledge workers like Barrett in the network of knowledge producers, who might be mentioned in a preface, but are rarely acknowledged further.

The archive offers 3852 pages of correspondence between the editors-in-chief, the publisher’s staff like the managing editor, section editors and commissioned authors. Hereby it allows detailed insights in the social process of the IEE production. Not only by numbers - 447 pages of correspondence which are explicitly related to Barbara Barrett by the archive label - the fundamental role of the managing editor in the process becomes apparent but also through closer reading. By applying the Qualitative Content Analysis (Schreier 2012, 2014) it is possible to show a pattern of Barrett’s influence and give qualitative insights in the way she was administratively, socially and content-related involved in knowledge production. We present a picture of her role throughout the editing and publication process to identify a rather hidden kind of knowledge work as a fundamental part of the joint effort to collect, produce and share knowledge.

Bibliography

Camic, C., Gross, N. & Lamont, M. (eds.) (2011): Social knowledge in the making. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Crasnow, S., Wylie, A., Bauchspies, W. K. & Potter, E. (2018): Feminist Perspectives on Science. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring 2018 Edition. Forthcoming URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/feminist-science/>. 

Haraway, D.(1988): Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies,vol.14 1988, No 3, p. 575-599.

Husén, T. & Postlethwaite, T. N. (eds.) (1985): The International Encyclopedia of Education: Research and Studies. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Husén, T. & Postlethwaite, T. N. (eds.) (1994): The International Encyclopedia of Education (2nded.) Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Latour, B. & Woolgar, S. (1979/1986): Laboratory Life. The Construction of Scientific Facts. NJ: Princeton University Press.

Latour, B. (1987): Science in action: how to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Schreier, Margrit (2012): Qualitative content analysis in practice. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

Schreier, Margrit (2014): Varianten qualitativer Inhaltsanalyse. Ein Wegweiser im Dickicht der Bgrifflichkeiten. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/ Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 15, No 1, Art. 18, January 2014. http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/viewFile/2043/3636[22-01-2018]

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-71823OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-71823DiVA, id: diva2:1282376
Conference
International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE 40), Berlin, Germany, August 29 - September 1, 2018
Available from: 2019-01-24 Created: 2019-01-24 Last updated: 2019-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Lundahl, ChristianPrimus, Franziska

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