Globalization and educational policy: Mechanisms as a method of study

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This article analyzes the effects of globalization on the study of educational policies. The article's hypothesis is that current research on educational systems and policies cannot be developed without taking into consideration the different ways in which globalization affects education. From our point of view, recognizing the importance of globalization processes for the different dimensions of educational policy necessarily leads to a reformulation of both the research questions and the methodologies used for their testing. In this context, the article has two main objectives: on the one hand, it explores the theoretical and methodological implications of globalization for the analysis of educational policies; on the other hand, it analyzes several examples that illustrate the effects generated by globalization on the different dimensions of educational policy. For this, the article uses Roger Dale's sociology of the educational policy, explores the structuring of a global educational agenda and presents the concept of «mechanisms» developed by the above-mentioned author. In fact, the mechanisms represent the different ways in which the global agenda affects national policies. It is a highly useful concept in the contemporary analysis of educational policies, an essential method of study for exploring relations between the national and the supranational scales. At the same time, the article presents two examples of the connection between the global and national levels: the structuring of a global agenda in the fight against poverty led by the World Bank and implementation by the European Union of the Open Method of Co-ordination. The article reflects the limits of the national scale for analyzing educational policies in a context of globalization and illustrates the possibilities offered by the mechanisms as a method of study of the relations between globalization and educational policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-255
JournalRevista de Educacion
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Educational change
  • Educational policy
  • Educational research
  • Globalization
  • International bodies
  • Research methodology


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