An interpretive framework for understanding the politics of policy change.

An interpretive framework for understanding the politics of policy change.

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Title: An interpretive framework for understanding the politics of policy change.
Author: Mawhinney, Hanne B.
Abstract: The research design guiding the study emphasized the development of conceptual elements of policy change, which have been identified in the current policy literature, through the examination of two substantive educational policy changes. A methodology of theoretical sampling was used to develop a conceptual framework grounded in the phenomenology of change. In the first step of the three-stage research path, a number of problematic issues and themes were identified through a review of the literature on policy change. The conceptual trends which emerge from a review of current research on policy processes, identified the core elements of the IF developed in this thesis. Together, the trends identified in the literature suggest that policy change involves a dynamic interplay of ideas, institutional structures and political processes that are embedded in an historical-political context, which emerges from the ecology of interactions within policy communities and policy networks. These elements formed the basis of study's theoretical orientation, and established the direction for the research undertaken to develop the IF. Six research questions developed from the literature provided the framework for the second stage of empirical inquiry into issues surrounding two policy changes made by the government of Ontario, directed at Franco-Ontarian educational governance and funding of Roman Catholic schools. Bill 30, passed in June, 1986, extended full funding for Roman Catholic education to the end of secondary school. Bill 109, enacted in 1988, established a French-language school board in the Ottawa-Carleton region of the province. The politics surrounding these two policy changes were investigated by conducting interviews with 70 policy actors. Documents and newspaper coverage of the policy changes were used to confirm and extend the observations of policy actors. Analysis of the documents and of the taped and transcribed interviews provided the empirical basis for the third and final stage of the study. In this final stage of the research, the conceptual issues identified in the literature were analyzed in the context of the findings of the investigation of the two policy changes. This analysis, reported in two chapters of the thesis, developed the ideas and concepts of the Interpretive Framework (IF) for understanding the politics of policy change. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
Date: 1993
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/6597

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