1st Edition

Analysing Education Policy Theory and Method

Edited By Meghan Stacey, Nicole Mockler Copyright 2024
    276 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Analysing Education Policy: Theory and Method provides a comprehensive overview of key approaches in critical education policy research. With chapters from internationally recognised and established scholars in the field, this book provides an authoritative account of how different questions may be approached and answered.

    Part 1 features chapters focused on text-based approaches to analysis, including critical discourse analysis, thinking with Foucault, Indigenist Policy Analysis, media analysis, the analysis of promotional texts in education, and the analysis of online networks. Part 2 features chapters focused on network ethnography, actor-network theory, materiality in policy, Institutional Ethnography, decolonising approaches to curriculum policy, working with children and young people, and working with education policy elites. These chapters are supported by an introduction to each section, as well as an overall introduction and conclusion chapter from the editors, drawing together key themes and ongoing considerations for the field.

    Critical education policy analysis takes many different forms, each of which works with distinctly different questions and fulfils different purposes. This book is the first to clearly map current common and influential approaches to answering these questions, providing important guidance for both new and established researchers.

    1. Introduction: Analysing education policy: An introduction

    Meghan Stacey and Nicole Mockler

    Part 1

    2. Document and text analysis in critical education policy studies

    Nicole Mockler and Meghan Stacey

    3. Critical Discourse Analysis: Language, ideology and power

    Izhak Berkovich and Pascale Benoliel

    4. Thinking with Foucault to understand education policy

    Jessica Holloway, Sarah Langman and Tanjin Ashraf

    5. Indigenist Policy Analysis: The Uluru Statement from the Heart as a roadmap towards recognising Indigenous sovereignty in Indigenous education

    Kevin Lowe, David Coombs and Sue Goodwin

    6. Media analysis: From the wide angle to the zoom lens

    Nicole Mockler

    7. Sites of promotion: Analysing websites, prospectuses and experiential marketing

    Sue Saltmarsh

    8. Online networks and education policy sociology

    Naomi Barnes and Anna Hogan

    Part 2

    9. Participant analysis in critical education policy studies

    Meghan Stacey and Nicole Mockler

    10. Network ethnography in education: A literature review of network ethnography as a methodology and how it has been applied in critical policy studies

    Emma Rowe

    11. Actor-Network Theory: A material-semiotic approach to policy analysis

    Rizwana Shahzad and Radhika Gorur

    12. The vital materiality of policy

    Jennifer Clutterbuck

    13. Institutional Ethnography: Discovering how education policy organises the everyday work of people

    Nerida Spina, Maren Seehawer and Moyra Keane

    14. Decolonising curriculum policy research through community centredness

    Constance Khupe

    15. Beyond surveys and focus groups: Including the views of children and young people in education policy analysis

    Angelique Howell

    16. Researching policy elites in education

    Khalaf Al-Abri, Anna Hogan, Bob Lingard and Sam Sellar

    17. Conclusion: Analysing education policy: Now and into the future

    Meghan Stacey and Nicole Mockler


    Meghan Stacey is Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Education and Education Policy at the UNSW School of Education, where she takes a particular interest in the critical policy sociology of teachers’ work. Her first book, The Business of Teaching, was published in 2020 with Palgrave.

    Nicole Mockler is Professor of Education at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on education policy and politics, particularly as they frame teachers’ work, professional identities, and professional learning. Her most recent book is Constructing Teacher Identities (Bloomsbury, 2022).

    “How we theorise and analyse policy is an under-worked and under-written aspect of critical policy studies. This book fills a gap in an accessible and articulate manner and draws on the scholarship of an impressive and diverse set of policy scholars. Working with text and agency to explore how policy is understood and investigated, and posing searching questions about how policy is analysed and researched, this collection will be invaluable to educationalists, researchers and policy-makers, in sharpening current and future studies in the field.”

    Meg Maguire, Professor, King’s College London, UK

    “As factors influencing the development and enactment of policy in education become increasingly varied and complex, new approaches to policy research are clearly needed. Drawing on recent developments in social and political theory, this book presents a collection of critical essays that constitutes a most accessible and helpful introduction to the shifting field of educational policy studies.”

    Fazal Rizvi, Emeritus Professor, The University of Melbourne, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


    “...a must-read primer to critical education policy analysis. This rich collection by renowned international experts spans a wide array of theoretical and methodological insights into text-based sources and the roles and experiences of human and non-human actors. Infused with concrete examples and sensitivity towards the variety of analytical approaches in the field, it is a true gift to all of us pursuing responsible, relevant, and robust research on education policy in national and global contexts.”

    Nelli Piattoeva, Associate Professor, Tampere University, Finland


    “The field of education policy research is a morass of epistemological turns and normative wrangling, making it a difficult space to navigate for students and researchers not familiar with its rich albeit complicated relationship to different intellectual histories and political projects. To aid readers through this muddy terrain and offer essential clarity and comprehension on the various theories and methods available, from network ethnography to visual discourse, problem representation and Foucauldian analytics, Stacey and Mockler bring together a stellar group of researchers to showcase some of the most innovative approaches to education policy research.”

    Andrew Wilkins, Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK