Shaping Policy Agendas
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Shaping Policy Agendas

The Micro-Politics of Economic International Organizations

Edited by David Dolowitz, Magdaléna Hadjiisky and Romuald Normand

This fascinating book investigates the strategic importance of the production and dissemination of expertise in the activities of the international organizations (IOs) that have come to symbolize the dominance of the Western political and economic order.
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Chapter 4: Beyond the standardization versus contextualization debate: the role of the OECD in European education governance

Sotiria Grek


This chapter will not examine the full assemblage of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) education data-production machine; instead it will focus on the ‘Reviews of National Policies for Education’, in an attempt to show that the OECD’s both quantitative and qualitative work are mutually reinforcing and dependent. It will show that the OECD’s technocratic legitimacy is only possible through a great amount of local, national, face-to-face and deeply contextual work, in order to maintain the reputation of the global knowledge producer and mediator – perhaps more crucially, in order to sustain its role as critical friend. Familiarity here is key, and so is the attention to local political battles and disputes. It is precisely the OECD’s ability to work directly and closely with member states that has allowed it to secure the brand of unequivocal education policy player.

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