The phantom national? Assembling national teaching standards in Australia’s federal system

Glenn C. Savage, Steven Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we use the development of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) as an illustrative case to examine how national schooling reforms are assembled in Australia’s federal system. Drawing upon an emerging body of research on ‘policy assemblage’ within the fields of policy sociology, anthropology and critical geography, we focus on interactions between three dominant ‘component parts’ in the development of the APST: the Australian federal government; New South Wales state government agencies; and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. While policies like the APST claim to be national in form and scope, our analysis suggests ‘the national’ is much more disjunctive and nebulous, constituted by a heterogeneous and emergent assemblage of policy ideas, practices, actors and organisations, which often reflect transnational traits and impulses. We thus see national reforms such as the APST as having a phantom-like nature, which poses challenges for researchers seeking to understand the making of national policies in federal systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-142
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


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