The Globalisation, Education and Social Policies (GEPS) is a research center based in the Department of Sociology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
The common thread among the scholars that are part of GEPS is to develop critical research on educational policies and practices and in particular to assess their impact on educational inequalities and systems from a social justice perspective. This approach is applied in a set of interconnected fields, including the global governance of education, the relationship between education policy and international development, the analysis of young people’s education trajectories, the relationships between schooling and social inequalities, and the enactment and effects of education policy both in Europe and in lower and middle income countries.
The main research strands of GEPS are:
- Global governance and international organisations. International governmental organizations, such as the World Bank, the OECD or UNESCO play an important role in the production of education policies. This research strand looks at the main governance mechanisms that these organizations activate in the generation and dissemination of global policy models, and to their main effects in different educational settings. This strand also looks at the increasing presence and influence of non-state international players – such as transnational corporations, philanthropic foundations or civil society networks- into the education policy-making realm.
- Schooling and social inequalities. This strand focuses on how the organization of schooling (primary, secondary and post-secondary) produces and reproduces social inequalities in terms of social class, gender and ethnicity. This includes a critical analysis of the schools’ logics of action, their pedagogic practices and the teachers’ beliefs, knowledge and expectations. It also looks at the mediating role that socio-economic, policy and market factors have in the production of social inequalities in education.
- Youth educational trajectories, dispositions and choices. Within this strand GEPS scholars develop strong qualitative analysis around young people and their educational transitions, dispositions and choices throughout their educational trajectories. Issues of identity making are stressed under this strand as well as the interconnected effects of youth representations and practices in terms of reproduction and resistance.
- Policy analysis of educational reforms: This strand explores the politics of educational policy processes, and the intended and unintended effects of a wide range of educational policies and reforms. The GEPS team has already worked on comprehensive analysis of conditional cash transfers, public-private partnerships, school autonomy reforms, performance-based accountabilities and policies to overcome school failure.
- Poverty, segregation and education inequalities. Within this strand GEPS scholars stress the interactions between social and educational inequalities. Special attention is given to the effects of poverty, social exclusion and residential segregation on educational inequalities and school segregation.
Since 2018, GEPS is an active part of two research groups funded by the Catalan Government, namely the Interdisciplinary Group on Education Policy (GIPE SGR 2017-366) and the Global and Comparative Studies in Education group (GLANCE SGR 2017-1789).