Removing policy from its pedestal: some theoretical framings and practical possiblities

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In educational policy research, the orientation has shifted from a macro focus on central authorities to incorporating a micro focus on the multiple (often contradictory) policy practices within individual institutions. However, this new focus has not gone uncontested, and debate has revolved around the relevance of modernist conceptualizations of power (suggesting constraints by macro authorities) against post-modernist/post-structuralist conceptualizations (suggesting agency for micro-level actors). This paper offers some theoretical framings and practical possibilities for moving beyond dualisms of macro-micro and modernist-post-modernist/post-structuralist perspectives by applying a hybridized model which can simultaneously draw on the strengths of different approaches. Practical suggestions for critical interrogation of policy processes are also presented. Finally, the paper critiques policy network theory, another dynamic hybrid approach, which can potentially link the 'bigger picture' of global/national policy contexts to the 'smaller pictures' of policy practices within schools, in the interests of democratizing education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-298
JournalEducational Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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