Contexts of Education is a new series of handbooks that embraces both a creative approach to educational issues focused on context and a new publishing credo.
All educational concepts and issues have a home and belong to a context. This is the starting premise for this new series. One of the big intellectual breakthroughs of post-war science and philosophy was to emphasise the theory-ladenness of observations and facts—facts and observations cannot be established independent of a theoretical context. In other words, facts and observations are radically context-dependent. We cannot just see what we like or choose to see. In the same way, scholars are argue that concepts and constructs also are relative to a context, whether this be a theory, schema, framework, perspective or network of beliefs. Background knowledge always intrudes; it is there, difficult to articulate, tacit and operates to shape and help form our perceptions. This is the central driving insight of a generation of thinkers from Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper to Thomas Kuhn and Jürgen Habermas. Increasingly, in social philosophy, hermeneutics, and literary criticism textualism has given way to contextualism, paving the way for the introduction of the notions of ‘frameworks’, ‘paradigms’ and ‘networks’—concepts that emphasize a new ecology of thought.
This new series is predicated upon this insight and movement. It emphasises the importance of context in the establishment of educational facts and observations and the framing of educational hypotheses and theories. It also emphasises the relation between text and context, the discursive and the institution, the local and the global. Accordingly, it emphasizes the significance of contexts at all levels of inquiry: scientific contexts; theoretical contexts; political, social and economic contexts; local and global contexts; contexts for learning and teaching; and, cultural and interdisciplinary contexts.
Contexts of Education, as handbooks, are conceived as reference texts that also can serve as texts.
“Open education involves a commitment to openness and is therefore inevitably a political and social project. The concept of openness in regard to education pre-dates the openness movement that begins with free software and open source in the mid-1980s with roots going back to the Enlightenment that are bound up with the philosophical foundations of modern education with its commitments to freedom, citizenship, knowledge for all, social progress and individual transformation. Yet in another way political, social and technological developments have taken place in parallel alongside the history of the movement of open education that have heightened certain political and epistemological features and technological enabled others that emphasize questions of access to knowledge, the co-production and co-design of educational programs and of knowledge, the sharing, use, reuse and modification of resources while enhancing the ethics of participation and collaboration. Open education as a movement sits within the broader framework of the history of openness that brings together a number of disciplines and fields to impact directly upon the value of knowledge and learning, their geographic distribution and ownership, and their organization.”
This new series is devoted to the general theory and practice of open education in all its forms.