The activation, appropriation and practices of student-equity policy in Australian higher education

Peacock, David, Sellar, Sam, & Lingard, Bob (2014) The activation, appropriation and practices of student-equity policy in Australian higher education. Journal of Education Policy, 29(3), pp. 377-396.

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Current national reforms in Australian higher education have prioritised efforts to reduce educational disadvantage within a vernacular expression of neoliberal education policy. Student-equity policy in universities is enmeshed in a set of competitive student recruitment relations. This raises practice-based tensions as universities strive to meet specific institutional targets for low-socio-economic status (SES) and Indigenous student participation, whilst broadening participation more generally within the sector. This paper seeks empirically to trace the activation and appropriation of federal policy through two sites of higher education policy practices: a state government-sponsored equity practitioner body and two differently positioned universities, Dawson and McIllwraith, as they engage with low-SES schools. Working together Dorothy Smith’s insights into the textually mediated activation of local practices, Levinson and colleagues’ concept of the local appropriation of authorised policy, and Bourdieu’s notion of the contested field, we demonstrate that the generation of state level and institutionally specific policies for student-equity practices not only articulates to federal policy, but also appropriates the ruling relations of mandated policy. Further, the scope of these creative local appropriations is organised within a hierarchical academic field through which particular institutional imperatives, as well as the needs of low-SES students, are negotiated. The analysis demonstrates the vernacularisation of policy in the national rearticulation of global discourses, in appropriation at the level of the state body and in the practices of equity workers.

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3 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 73327
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: equity, critical discourse analysis, institutional ethnography, education policy, HERN, higher education
DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2013.839829
ISSN: 0268-0939
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Policy and Administration not elsewhere classified (160599)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 03 Jul 2014 22:40
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2015 14:17

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