The aim of this article is to argue that the evident exchange of information on performance (and its supply, demand and use) should be regarded as a symptom of a new governmental regime that installs less evident power relations. Educational policy in Flanders (Belgium), and in particular the need for feedback information from the Flemish government, will be used as a case to describe this regime. Based upon the analytical framework of ‘governmentality’ (Foucault), the article focuses on the ‘governmentalization’ of Europe and Flanders that accompanies the need for feedback information. The main result of the analysis of European and Flemish policy documents can be summarized as follows: government or the ‘conduct of conduct’ currently takes the form of ‘feedback on performance’. This means that the strategy of the governmental regime is to secure an optimal performance for each and all (member states, schools), and acts upon the ‘need for feedback’ and ‘will to learn’ of the actors involved. On the basis of these findings, the article introduces in conclusion the notion ‘synopticon’ in order to grasp the exercise of power in ‘feedback on performance’.
‘To be informed’: Understanding the role of feedback information for Flemish/European policy
Simons, M. (2007). ‘To be informed’: Understanding the role of feedback information for Flemish/European policy. Journal of Education Policy, 22(5), 531-548.