Affirmative Discourse Intervention (ADI): a model for engaging with policy discourse as a function of governmentality

Year: 2018

Author: Hunkin, Elise, Kilderry, Anne, Nolan, Andrea

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper is a response to the questions raised at the Re-imagining Education for Democracy Summit, 2017, including: what and where are the spaces for change, affirmative interference and democratic alternatives in education? In recent times, education policy and reform discourses have become increasingly politicised and critical policy methodologies are struggling to catch up. Over time, policy sociologists have noted that critical commentaries rarely succeed in changing or impacting dominant education policy pathways. This paper presents our initial thoughts around a framework for critical scholarship in education policy that draws on Foucauldian notions of governmentality to imagine a path to policy discourse intervention and change from within. The Affirmative Discourse Intervention (ADI) model builds on Foucault’s assertion that we must work with government to avoid subjection or acceptance, and thus affect change. The ADI model comprises three interrelated processes to engage and respond to discourse as a function of governmentality: discourse recognition, discourse disruption and discourse action. The paper outlines the ADI model and its theoretical framework, drawing on a joint study of the Australia early childhood quality reform policy context to briefly illustrate each ADI process in application. Last, the paper offers concluding thoughts and invites further commentary.