Il sito del Laboratorio di Politiche Sociali

Marta Cordini and Carlotta Caciagli are organizing a session at II Conferenza Internazionale “Reinventing Education” organizzata da Scuola Democratica (3-5 June 2021) titled:

From narratives to practices: discourse strategies on schooling and their impact during the pandemic


Since the outbreak of the pandemic, national and local governments faced the challenges posed by the need of organizing schooling to contain the risk of infection. Many documents at different local scales have been produced to provide guidelines to schools and social actors to balance between the pedagogical mis- sion and the containment of the virus spreading (UNESCO 2020). Alongside with the measures, a discursive strategy has emerged, embedding, and providing a framework to think and represent schools. As Ball (2015) points out “policies as discursive strategies speak to a wider social process of schooling, such as “the production of the student”, the “purpose of schooling” and the construction of the teacher. The way in which policy documents have introduced and discussed the measures show how the school is repre- sented, as well as the involved actors such as school managers, teachers, students and their households. Also, these narratives have been mirrored or contested in the public discourse, such as media, newspaper, televisions, shifting, strengthening, or softening the debate on some specific issues. Moreover, school and its function have been at the centre of the public attention, enhancing a reflection on its role and its con- nection with other social dimensions. Requests for the re-opening of schools were in fact legitimized through several arguments: conciliation issues, the risk of drops out, the rising of inequalities and polari- zation between schools and households, the lost achievements and the gap in term of human capital in- vestment, the role of the school as a social presidium on the territory.

Therefore, the pandemic has functioned as a magnifying lens putting school in the centre of the political and public debate and hindering narratives that are usually implicit. Main recipients of these documents and text schools were the test field of the guidelines, the instruments, the goals and the values conveyed by institutional and public discursive strategies.

This panel then welcomes papers analysing the narratives and discourses about schools emerged during the pandemic. More in details, contributions should focus on the following issues:

1) How narratives and discourses about schooling have legitimized the measures about schools during the pandemic?

2) The reception of the policy discourse from schools: in other words, the policy discourse has created a controversial reaction? Has it been interiorized by school? Are the narratives shared or are they simply rhetorical strategies?

3) The effective and/or controversial impact of the policy discourse on the implementation of measures in schools

4) How public debate has framed the measures set by different public actors?

The panel welcomes both comparative and one-case based studies, encouraging the submission of papers having as a core a discourse analysis approach.


Deadline to send abstracts: 4 April.

For more information about the ways to send the abstracts, please, check the following page: