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Beyond Policy Implementation: Policy Sense Making and Policy Enactment in Schools Open Access


Other title
Education Policy
Policy Analysis
Policy Sense Making
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Riveros Barrera, Augusto
Supervisor and department
Dr. Stephen Norris (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Brenda Spencer (Faculty of Education, University of Calgary)
Dr. Robert Wilson (Department of Philosophy)
Dr. Patrick Renihan (Faculty of Education, University of Saskatchewan)
Dr. Randolph Wimmer (Educational Policy Studies)
Dr. Paul Newton (Educational Policy Studies)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis aims to answer the following question: How does an account of educational policy sense making from the perspective of embodiment inform our understanding of educational policy enactment? I start by describing a widespread phenomenon identified by educational policy analysts: A growing body of research has shown that a single policy can be put into practice in multiple, diverse, and sometimes contradictory ways. How is this possible? I argue that the traditional notion of policy implementation is insufficient to characterize these variations and I make use of the notion of policy enactment (Ball, Maguire & Braun, 2012) to argue that we require an account of policy that takes into account the contexts in which school actors transform and adapt the policy to their own practices. I argue that this multiplicity of practices is related to the ways in which school actors make sense of policy when they engage in embodied interactions with other policy actors and policy artefacts in their contexts of practice. I propose the notion of “embodied policy sense making” to explain the multiple ways in which policy is enacted in schools. My intention in this dissertation is to offer an account of what makes policy sense-making possible. I do not offer an account of what makes a particular understanding of a policy correct or incorrect, true or false, accurate or inaccurate. I offer an account of what are the conditions so a policy is made sense of by the school actors in their contexts of practice.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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