Networks, Globalization, and World Bank Education Strategies


Development strategies of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as education strategies of the World Bank, advance globalization in part by promoting networks as organizational forms in public services and wider society. Networks are inherently decentralizing and are becoming the dominant organizational form due to advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The work of Karl Marx (interpreted through David Harvey), Manuel Castells, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari provide new insights into the use of ICT and networks as a social organizational form. Technology does not determine society, but reveals our relations to nature, production, and reproduction, our social relations, and our mental conceptions. These relations are dialectic in the Marxian sense that we cannot change the world around us without also changing ourselves. World Bank education strategies advance a networked type of education system, and impose a new form of discipline, to facilitate the emergence of a knowledge economy. However, the World Bank does not include our relation to nature in these strategies, and the strategies lack detail concerning modes of production and reproduction – essential to knowing why education is necessary. A more comprehensive understanding of the network form and ICT can contribute to critiques of development discourses in education reform and modes of being in the world.