CLEG-seminar: Researching social networks within the practices of educational contractualism

CLEG welcomes you to this seminar with Dr. Julie Rowlands, Deakin University, Australia


Photo of Dr Julie Rowlands
Dr Julie Rowlands
Photo: Deakin University

This presentation makes a case for researching contractualism within education provision. While contracts are not new, they increasingly mediate relationships at all levels and have become ubiquitous within everyday education policy and provision. This is especially so (but not exclusively the case) within coporatised and marketised education systems such as in Australia. Contractualism represents a form of governance that assumes contracting in all its forms will enhance performance and resolve organisational problems. However, there is little empirical research exploring the impact of contractualism within education and, consequently, no clear methodological approach for undertaking such research. In order to advance a possible methodological approach for the study of contractualism, this presentation aims to serve three specific but interrelated aims. First, it provides an account of Anna Yeatman's theory of new contractualism, which forms the basis for our work in this area and, second, it draws on that account and related literature to elucidate three specific contractual forms or types commonly represented within education provision. Third, it presents an argument for researching contractualism within education. In so doing it proposes Bourdieu's theory of practice, incorporating the notions of habitus, field and capital as a way to explore the asymmetries of power and social networks embedded in contractualism and thus to explore the intended and intended consequences of contractualism as a ubiquitous educational practice.

Research profile

Dr Julie Rowlands researches in the areas of education governance, higher education systems, academic quality assurance, academic work, leadership and organisational change. Julie applies a critical sociology of education perspective to her work and her writing has been published in high impact international journals including the British Journal of Sociology of Education, Critical Studies in Education and Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. Julie has presented extensively on higher education governance and the role of the university and its relationship to the state, both within Australia and also internationally. Her writing on university governance and decision-making is used by a number of universities around Australia and internationally as a basis for professional development programs. Julie's monograph, Academic Governance in Contemporary Universities: Perspectives from Anglophone nations, was published by Springer in 2017. She has also co-edited and contributed to a volume on practice theory in education, published by Routledge in early 2017. Current projects include a co-edited volume on education practice methodologies, to be published by Routledge in 2018, and research projects on aspects of school governance, and academic work. Prior to her current academic work, Julie was a senior manager in higher education governance for more than 15 years, most recently as Head of University Governance at Deakin.


Published Sep. 20, 2018 2:36 PM - Last modified Sep. 20, 2018 2:49 PM