In this paper we want to show how today’s trust or faith in statistical data acting as guiding instances of policy and (re-)ordering society – which thereby obviously not only pretend to describe reality ‘objectively’ but also formulate clear desiderata for intervention and its assessment – expresses not only a scientific but also a closely interwoven socio-political epistemology that are in their roots religious and embody accordingly hopes for salvation. From an analytical point of view, the thesis is that today’s dominant education policy model relies less on democratic deliberation or professional experience than on trust or faith in statistical evidence, and therefore requires a certain type of research which epistemological basis differs from other research attempts in the field of education. From a historical perspective, we propose that this sciento-social epistemological model has a long history that can be traced back to the Scottish Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.


Daniel Tröhler & Veronika Maricic (2021): Data, trust and faith: the unheeded religious roots of modern education policy, Globalisation, Societies and Education, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2021.1872371