Contractualism as a New Form of Governance

A seminar with Professor Jill Blackmore, Deakin University, Australia.

 Professor Jill Blackmore is the Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation, Deakin University.  Professor Blackmore's expertise lies in areas of feminist theory in educational administration, policy studies, globalization, organizational change and academics' and teachers' work.  Other areas of expertise are international education, innovative learning environments and community capacity building through arts-based education.


Within the context of heightened perceptions of risk within the higher education sector worldwide, responsibility for outcomes is increasingly required not only of universities but, also, of individual academics. In turn, contracts have become a key form of governance for institutions in mediating and modulating this risk and responsibility. While much writing around the use of contracts in higher education has focused on market-based, competitive neoliberal conceptions of contractualism, this presentation argues that there are, in fact, two largely antagonistic new modes of contractualism – market contractualism and relational contractualism – and a third, residual mode, paternal contractualism. These three modes of contractualism coexist within universities and schools, in tension. The presentation draws on two Australian exemplars to highlight how these tensions play out and to highlight the potential for contractualism to create spaces for shared goals and projects and shared risks resulting from the ways in which responsibility and individual agency are negotiated. It will also include a discussion of how contractualism increasingly is becoming part of governing universities and schools and what that means for teacher professionalism and equity.

Discussant: Professor Moritz Rosenmund (University of Vienna) and Jorunn Møller (University of Oslo)

Plenary discussion

Paper presentation: «Who Governs the Numbers? The Framing of Educational Knowledge by TIMSS-research» by Associate Professor Christina Elde Mølstad and Associate Professor Daniel Petterson (Gävle University College, Sweden). Discussant: Jill Blackmore and Guri Skedsmo

Organizer: The research group CLEG in collaboration with the Department of Teacher Education and School Research and the Department of Education at the University of Oslo.

Open lectures / English


Published June 7, 2016 8:46 PM