23 SES 01 C, Inclusive Policies in Local Education Markets
This paper maps different research traditions on what we call “inclusive” educational policies in secondary schools in Argentina, during the period 2000-2013. It proposes a typology of studies based on their research questions, theoretical perspectives, and methodological strategies. Following Stevens (2007), a research tradition refers to a collection of studies that ask similar types of questions and deploy related conceptual and methodological tools to answer them. It also recognizes dominant and emerging conceptions of “policy process” and “policies”.
This paper´s contribution is twofold. On the one hand, it is the first systematic attempt to make visible what type of knowledge has been produced on “inclusion” in secondary education over the last decade in this national context. This exercise allows the identification and understanding of its current blind spots as well as its challenges. On the other hand, it offers an analysis of the role of the state in steering of the production of knowledge on educational policy. This serves as a basis for a critical examination of educational research elsewhere and the necessity to be reflexive about the categories and concepts we use to examine policy processes. Following Bourdieu (1994), there is a permanent risk of applying concepts forged by the state to achieve its own purposes (mainly legitimation, Bourdieu (1994) argues) in our policy analyses, which could hamper the understanding of the processes under scrutiny.
Two sets of conceptual tools were used to interrogate how different “research traditions” conceptualize the “policy process” and “policies”: one developed in Latin American on the state and public policies and the other on educational policy process developed by S. Ball and colleagues. Definitions of the “state”, “educational policies” and “policy process” offer a crucial baseline to tease out how identified studies problematize educational policy. Following Oszlack and O´ Donnell (1981), the state needs to be considered as “relational”. It configures a negotiation scenario wherein different political forces and social groups that are able to negotiate attempt to impose their own interests. Educational policies, like any other “public policy”, need to be conceived as socio-historic dynamic processes and as outcomes of struggles between different sectors and social and political actors. Following Acuña (2007) and Zeller (2007), educational policies could be defined as sets of decisions oriented to shape or influence the education system. In this view, the state is a key player in the shaping of educational policies but not the only one (the role of the civil society and private sector needs to be examined). Furthermore, the “policy process” is a complex, multi-sited and differentiated phenomenon. Ball and his colleagues´ perspective on policy is useful here. He argues that it is necessary to examine policy initiatives as texts, enactments and discourse (Ball 1993). Conceptualizing policy as “text” implies interpreting policy as “textual interventions”, as multifaceted codifications produced via compromises, struggles (Ball 1993). Understanding policy as text also draws our attention to the ways in which these texts are “decoded”, interpreted and read by policy actors (such as head teachers, teachers, and students) (Ball 1993, Braun et al 2010). The concept “policy enactment” refers to policy actors’ interpretations of policy texts, which are forged “in relation to their history, experiences, skills, resources and context” (Ball 1993:11). However, policy actors “do policy” within historic and moving discursive boundaries, within which they can interpret and read educational policy. Policy translations take place within Discourse, with a capital D (in Foucauldian terms); within discursive formations. Nonetheless they are neither coherent nor homogeneous. Understanding policy as discourse demands that we look at policy and how it “exercises power through the production of `truth`, and `knowledge`” (Ball 1993: 14).
Acuña, C. 2008. Lecturas sobre el Estado y las políticas públicas: Retomando el debate de ayer para fortalecer el actual. Buenos Aires: Jefatura de Gabinete de Ministros de la Nación. Apple, M. 2013. Between traditions: Stephen Ball and the critical sociology of education. London Review of Education. 11(3): 206-217 Ball, S. 2013. Foucault, power and education. London: Routledge. Ball, S. 1993. "What is policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes." Discourse 13(2): 10-17. Bourdieu, P. 1994. “Rethinking the state: Genesis and structure of the bureaucratic field”. Sociological Theory 12(1): 1-18. Braun, A., Maguire, M. and Ball, S. 2010. "Policy enactments in the UK secondary school: examining policy, practice and school positioning." Journal of Education Policy 25(4): 547-560. Braun, A., Ball, S. and Maguire, M. 2010. "Policy enactments in schools introduction: towards a toolbox for theory and research." Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 32(4): 581-583 Gunter, H. 2013. On not researching school leadership: the contribution of S. J. Ball. London Review of Education.11(3): 218-228. Oszlak, O. and O'Donnell, M. 1981. Estado y políticas estatales en América Latina: hacia una estrategia de investigación. Buenos Aires: Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES). Palamidessi, M., Suasnábar, C. y Gorostiaga, J. (eds.). 2011. Políticas educativas y producción de conocimiento en América Latina. Buenos Aires: Novedades Educativas. Stevens, P. 2007. “Researching Race/Ethnicity and Educational Inequality in English Secondary Schools: A Critical Review of the Research Literature between 1980 and 2005.” Review of Educational Research 77: 147–185. Tello, C. y Mainardes, J. 2012. "La posición epistemológica de los investigadores en Política Educativa: debates teóricos en torno a las perspectivas pos-estructuralista, neo-marxista y pluralista". Revista Archivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas. Available on line http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/988?lang=es Zeller, N. (ed.). 2007. Marco conceptual metodológico para el estudio de políticas educativas. Buenos Aires: Dirección de Investigaciones. Instituto Nacional de la Administración Pública. Subsecretaría de la Gestión Pública.
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