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International Graduate Centre of Education

Workshop: Asia as method and network governance in education

  • Workshop


How do Asian students choose to study issue in their PhD projects? Are they choosing education issues from their home countries? Are they using Western theories/literature to interpret their study issues and look for solutions?

Western academic discourse plays a dominant role in social science research in each corner of the world (Zhang, Chan & Kenway, 2015). Scholars tend to “picture the world as seen from the rich capital-exporting countries of Europe and North America – the global metropole” (Connell, 2007, p. vii). The potential of Asia as method is this: using the idea of an Asian imaginary anchoring point, societies in Asia can become each other’s reference point, so that the understanding of the self may be transformed and subjectivity rebuilt. On this basis, the diverse historical experiences and rich social practices of Asia may be mobilized to provide alternative horizons and perspectives (Chen, 2010).

Network governance has been applied to education policy (Ball, 2008). Ball argues that the mode of governance in education is shifting from centralized and bureaucratic government to governance in and by networks. This shift does not ‘hollow-out’ the state (Rhodes, 1994) because the centralisation of the state still dominates, but other actors can influence government policies. ‘Mohe’ is a way to coordinate autonomous actors as they accommodate each other to solve the societal problems and achieve their collective goals. It indicates a continuing process of cooperation through friction and mutual adjustment. Naming network governance in this way uses Asian theory as the reference point, rather than simply accepting the conceptualisation provided by the West (Chen, 2010). It is a methodological strategy that problematizes Western concepts in the light of Asian history and intellectual traditions. It encourages Asian dialogues, rather than assuming that Asia will take up the ideas of the West (Chan & Pardy, 2012).

About the presenter

Dr Philip Wing Keung Chan is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. He has worked in course development and training at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers. He was a convenor of Monash Education Research Community (MERC) and is a convenor of Chinese Education Research Team and a series editor of Asia Pacific Education Book series of Monash University Publishing. His edited books are 'Asia Pacific Education: Diversity, Challenges and Changes' (Monash University Publishing, 2012), 'Equality in Education: Fairness and Inclusion' (Senses Publishers, 2014) and ‘Asia as Method in Education Studies: A Defiant Imagination' (Routledge, 2015). He is the recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Programs that Enhance Learning at Monash University in 2016.

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