The policy trail methodology

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning

  • John Holford, Nottingham University, Storbritannien
  • Anne Larson
  • Susana Melo, University of Nottingham, Storbritannien
  • Pasqua Marina Tota, ActionAid
In recent years, the “policy trail” has been proposed as a methodology appropriate to the shifting and fluid governance of lifelong learning in the late modern world (Holford et al. 2013, Holford et al. 2013, Cort 2014). The contemporary environment is marked by multi-level governance (global/national/regional/local), but also by a diversification of types of actor (public/private; for-profit/not-for-profit). Multi-level governance has been particularly marked – and has taken specific forms – in the European context, but it is by no means limited to the EU. The policy trail method aims to capture the increased influence of transnational organisations and public-private networks in policymaking. The concept of policy trails sought to theorise how this widened policy space – including new and variously-sited actors – is negotiated and how power is distributed across sites (Holford & McKenzie, 2013). Cort (2014) developed the notion of ‘policy trail’, arguing that it can overcome ‘methodological nationalism’ and link structure and agency in research on the ‘European educational space’. The ‘trail’ metaphor, she suggests, captures the intentionality and the erratic character of policy. The trail connects sites and brings about change, but – although policy may be intended to be linear, with specific outcomes – policy often has to bend, and sometimes meets insurmountable obstacles. This symposium outlines and develops the methodology, but also reports on research undertaken within a major FP7 project (LLLIght’in’Europe, 2012-15) which made use of the method. We argue that policy trails enable us to generate a broader and refined picture of policy in operation, and of the effectiveness and adequacy of national policies. In particular, they enable us to pinpoint in what circumstances and among which groups of workers public policy and funding for lifelong education and training can be more effective and socially equitable. Based on this, the symposium will explore and evaluate the strengths and limitations of the approach, reporting on its effectiveness in several contrasting empirical contexts
StatusUdgivet - 2017
BegivenhedESREA network on Policy Studies in Adult Education conference 2017: Equity, Social Justice and Adult Education and Learning Policy - University of Verona, Verona, Italien
Varighed: 25 apr. 201627 maj 2017
Konferencens nummer: 3


KonferenceESREA network on Policy Studies in Adult Education conference 2017
LokationUniversity of Verona

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