http://dx.doi.org/10.7577/pp.1814

Partnership as Educational Policy Imperative: An Unquestioned Good?

John I'Anson, Sandra Eady

Abstract

“Partnership” is often promoted as an unquestioned “good” for higher education institutions in relation to its various stakeholder organizations. This paper seeks to problematize this uncritical valorization through a critical interrogation of the concepts and socio-material practices associated with partnership. In the name of partnership, new forms of governance are inaugurated that have far-reaching effects. More specifically, this paper is concerned with a critical analysis of partnership in relation to a longitudinal study of the relational practices between a university and five local authorities within a Scottish educational context. In particular, we trace how a “signature event” transformed a partnership assemblage, from one characterized by a grammar of participation, to a formal partnership aligned with a set of principles that we characterize as a grammar of representation. We argue that this transition led to a new assemblage that enacted new accountabilities, performativities, and alignments under the sign of partnership.

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