Reimagining policy: Power, problems, and public stories

The authors of various practitioner and scholarly documents suggest markedly contrasting understandings about the nature of “policy.” These divergent conceptions raise the question: What is at stake by understanding the nature of policy in one way as opposed to another? The purpose of this philosophical inquiry is to interrogate the nature of “policy” as it relates to music education and to question the values that do and might underlie and propagate through contrasting understandings of “policy.” Subsequently, I examine two aspects of policy, problem identification and meaning-making, that have gone largely unexplored in the arts education literature. Using Foucault's writings, I argue that power-laden policy texts often have the greatest impact, not when they are mandated, but when they go misrecognized as common sense. I also advocate for the consistent use of the terms “policy texts” and “policy actions,” including as an alternative to the imbalanced designations of “soft policies” and “hard policies.” Drawing on Dewey arts educators might form “publics” around problems having consequences that they deem far-reaching, recurrent, and irreparable. Individual and collective political narratives, including what Ganz explains as “stories of self,” “stories of us,” and “stories of now,” can foster the meaningful connections necessary for forming “publics” who address pressing problems in arts education.

Publication Date:
Jan 02 2018
Date Submitted:
Nov 30 2018
Arts Education Policy Review

 Record created 2018-11-30, last modified 2019-04-03

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