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ERIC Number: EJ873567
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
Politics of Externalization in Reflexive Times: Reinventing Japanese Education Reform Discourses through "Finnish PISA Success"
Takayama, Keita
Comparative Education Review, v54 n1 p51-75 Feb 2010
Drawing on a critical theoretical paradigm and critically engaging with the externalization thesis that Gita Steiner-Khamsi and Jurgen Schriewer have developed, this article examines the politics of "Finnish education" in the ongoing Japanese education reform debate. More specifically, it examines the various discursive uses of "Finnish education reform" that circulate in the debate. Situating the politics of externalization in the sociological discussion of reflexive modernity, the study demonstrates how progressive--and to a lesser extent neoliberal--observers appropriate the symbolic signifier "Finnish education" to construct a given truth about the state of Japanese education, authenticate their preferred definitions of its "crisis," and then naturalize given "solutions." In particular, the author focuses on how progressive observers refer to Finnish education to redefine the "crisis" and legitimize their dissenting voices against the ongoing conservative-led reform. The author identifies in the progressive articulation the same set of discursive strategies as used in the conservatives' appropriation of U.S. and British education reform discourses. Furthermore, drawing on Finnish scholars who are critical of their country's education policies, the author shows the highly selective nature of the truth claims that Japanese progressives make about Finnish education. The author then goes on to examine how Japanese neoliberal observers appropriate the symbol "Finnish education" in their arguments, illuminating its multiaccentuality--how it is articulated in ideologically opposed discourses (Hall 1985). In conclusion, the author discusses the implications of the study for the conceptualization of externalization and the comparative studies of education in general. (Contains 1 table and 13 footnotes.)
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-1878; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland; Japan
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment