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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Navigating hybrid global policy contexts : a phenomenological study of market-oriented education policy enactments among administrators of international education programs Cover, Dwayne


Market-oriented education policies (MOEPs) are becoming increasingly prevalent in public education contexts around the world. However, there is a paucity of study on how public education administrators experience and understand MOEPs enacted within these spaces. In this thesis, I examine how administrators experience and navigate increasingly competitive environments and evolving political economies in school districts contexts. I focus on the cultural, political, economic, and administrative contingencies faced by administrators of International Education (IE) programs in the Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.). These programs, which have proliferated over the past two decades, are viewed as revenue-generating activities that do not seem to fit well within public school districts. In this study I take a policy sociology approach employing the Policy Enactment Analytic from the work of Stephen Ball, Meg Maguire, and Annette Braun to analyze how policies play out in specific educational contexts. I also draw upon Ball’s work, which positions education policy as dynamic and malleable, keyed by individual policy actors operating within complex networks, and Susan Robertson’s research on globalization and education policy. I utilize phenomenology to explore administrators’ experiences with MOEPs. Data is collected through interviews with five administrators from B.C. school districts and independent schools. Administrators identify the emergence of “hybrid policy spaces” in MOEP enactment that opens district policy jurisdictions to market forces from international and global scales. These spaces reveal how the dynamics associated with competing priorities and pressures ultimately reconfigures and reshapes administrators’ roles and professional identities within public education settings. These dynamics also have cultural implications, which were somewhat unexpected. For instance, “interculturalization” was a prominent thread weaving through the administrators’ experiences, regardless of district context or individual background. The emergence of these hybrid policy spaces raises questions regarding the scope and magnitude of the impacts of MOEPs on public education. Additionally, the prominence of cultural implications as a strong theme within these policy enactments suggests that economics should not be the lone consideration in attempting to study and better understand the evolving policy landscape.

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