Putting the steam back into critique? Critical–dissensual collaboration in education policy research

Year: 2019

Author: Heimans, Stephen, Singh, Parlo

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper we present some resources for doing education policy research with others – which we term ‘critical–dissensual collaboration’. We think that education policy research ‘critique from afar’ may have run out of steam and we make some proposals for doing critical research, but with (a diversity of) others. Undertaking critical–dissensual, collaborative education policy research – where, as Law suggested, ‘realities are not secure but instead they have to be practised’ is long-term focussed and works toward ‘goods’ that have to be defined, and which emerge, along the way. IN this paper we extend the conceptualisation of enactment that Stephen Ball and colleagues have made; from focusing on ‘how schools do policy’ to how researchers and schools (re)do policy together. This paper is part of our attempt to underpin this redoing of policy with a politics of dissensus and to develop alternative resources to those that enable a ‘god’s eye view’, as Haraway proposed, of policy research. In our capacity as critical education policy researchers we have collaborated as policy actors with others in schools, and this article arises from this work. We outline some of the conceptual underpinnings for ‘starter’ concepts as a contribution toward elucidating resources for a dissensual politics of critical collaboration.