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ERIC Number: EJ1037089
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-0018-1560
The Policy Object: A Different Perspective on Policy Enactment in Higher Education
Sin, Cristina
Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, v68 n3 p435-448 Sep 2014
This paper proposes a new perspective for higher education policy research. It introduces the concept of "policy object" to designate the discrete preoccupation(s) of a policy text (e.g. a new governance regime, a quality system, or new degrees) and suggests that actor conceptualisations of the policy object intersect with other elements in the policy process to shape enactment and outcomes. First, the "policy object" concept is described. It is argued that the policy object does not have an objective existence and two concepts are proposed to explain it: "ontology" and "enacted ontology". The former refers to what actors believe the policy object "is", a socially-construed context-determined conceptualisation, whereas enacted ontology refers to what the policy object "becomes" further to enactment under the influence of ontology. Second, the paper presents the findings of a comparative study of master degrees further to the Bologna process in different national and institutional settings to illustrate the policy object approach. This research puts forward arguments to suggest that the policy object could be an important variable to consider in policy research. This somewhat different lens, inviting fine-grained attention to a specific policy object (its ontologies and enacted ontologies), could bring additional insight into policy outcomes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A