Recontextualising policy discourses : a Bernsteinian perspective on policy interpretation, translation, enactment

Singh, Parlo, Thomas, Sue, & Harris, Jessica (2013) Recontextualising policy discourses : a Bernsteinian perspective on policy interpretation, translation, enactment. Journal of Education Policy, 28(4), pp. 465-480.

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This paper contributes to critical policy research by theorising one aspect of policy enactment, the meaning making work of a cohort of mid-level policy actors. Specifically, we propose that Basil Bernstein’s work on the structuring of pedagogic discourse, in particular, the concept of recontextualisation, may add to understandings of the policy work of interpretation and translation. Recontextualisation refers to the relational processes of selecting and moving knowledge from one context to another, as well as to the distinctive re-organisation of knowledge as an instructional and regulative or moral discourse. Processes of recontextualisation necessitate an analysis of power and control relations, and therefore add to the Foucauldian theorisations of power that currently dominate the critical policy literature. A process of code elaboration (decoding and recoding) takes place in various recontextualising agencies, responsible for the production of professional development materials, teaching guidelines and curriculum resources. We propose that mid-level policy actors are crucial to the work of policy interpretation and translation because they are engaged in elaborating the condensed codes of policy texts to an imagined logic of teachers’ practical work. To illustrate our theoretical points we draw on data; collected for an Australian research project on the accounts of mid-level policy actors responsible for the interpretation of child protection and safety policies for staff in Queensland schools.

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16 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 69143
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Policy discourse, Bernstein, Policy interpretation, Policy translation, Policy enactment
DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2013.770554
ISSN: 0268-0939
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Deposited On: 25 Mar 2014 22:54
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2014 01:52

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